Isaac Redman prepping as starter

PITTSBURGH -- Isaac Redman is proceeding as if he will start the Pittsburgh Steelers' season opener Sunday, and there is a good reason the fourth-year running back is taking that approach.

"I run with the first-team [offense] through the first four reps," Redman said Monday afternoon after practice, when asked if he has been told he will start Sunday against the visiting Tennessee Titans. "That's normally what the starter does, and I'm just preparing as the starter until they tell me otherwise."

The Steelers don't have many other starting options at running back.

Rookie Le'Veon Bell is recovering from a mid-foot sprain and the Steelers cut Jonathan Dwyer, the team's leading rusher in 2012, last Saturday.

Redman opened last season as the starter but the 6-foot, 230-pounder never emerged as a No. 1 back, rushing for 421 yards and two scores and averaging 3.7 yards per carry.

Of the mindset he is taking this season, Redman said, "I want to try and make it hard for [the coaches] to take me out. If everything holds up and I stay healthy, I'm planning on going out there and performing."

Redman may have to make the most of his opportunity quickly.

Recently acquired Felix Jones looked good in two preseason games, and the former first-round draft pick should only get better as he learns the offense. Bell, meanwhile, is out of a walking boot, and the second-round pick is targeting an early season return.

"I'm going to try and get back by Week 2, but I'm not making any promises," Bell said. "I'm going to make sure I'm 100 percent before I do anything."

Bell said he has been doing some light jogging and other foot workouts he makes his way back from an injury he sustained in the Steelers' second preseason game. One benefit of the injury, Bell said, is it allowed the knee that hampered him during training camp to fully heal.

"I'm just going to be smart about it so once I do come back it's not still bothering me," Bell said. "I want to make sure I don't have to be thinking about it on the field."

Redman had been limited since the end of training camp with a pinched nerve in his shoulder, and the Steelers held him out of the final three preseason games. But Redman said he is "ready to go" after carrying the ball just twice in preseason play.

"I sat out long enough," he said. "I feel good."