It's unknown whether Rashard Mendenhall will play Monday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, but he will remain the Steelers' starting running back when he's recovered from an Achilles injury, running backs coach Kirby Wilson told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Wednesday.
"Rashard has always been our lead dog and our top runner," Wilson told the newspaper.
After missing the first three games of the season because of offseason knee surgery, Mendenhall returned to gain 101 total yards against the Eagles before injuring his Achilles the next game. In his absence, Jonathan Dwyer has gained 100 yards rushing in back-to-back games, and Isaac Redman produced a career-high 147 yards rushing last Sunday.
There is a chance the Steelers will go with a running back-by-committee approach, and Wilson repeated what coach Mike Tomlin said earlier in the week about giving the ball to the running back who is having the most success during the game. Wilson indicated the first opportunities would go to Mendenhall.
"Rashard is the complete package -- power, speed, explosiveness," Wilson said. "He is the guy who can take a 10-yard run and make people miss and get 20 more. We think Jonathan has things that he is great at. Isaac has some things that he is great at. But Rashard is the complete package. Rashard has proved that he can do it over the long haul."
Mendenhall is considered questionable for Monday's game against Kansas City. A first-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2008, he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.