Steelers to visit with free agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw

Al Bello

While the free-agency firestorm has begun to flicker out, it is still fanning embers in Pittsburgh of a possible need at running back.

Ever since being released by the New York Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw has had his name connected with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who just lost their starter of the past four seasons to the Arizona Cardinals in Rashard Mendenhall.

Now, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, Bradshaw will visit with the Steelers. NFL.com is reporting that visit is scheduled for Thursday.

Bradshaw isn't the first free-agent running back to meet with the Steelers, who met with former Cardinals RB Beanie Wells during the free agency period. Wells left Pittsburgh without an offer after being evaluated by the medical staff. Bradshaw could be preparing for a very similar visit.

The Steelers are definitely showing a want for help carrying the ball, even without expressing much interest in retaining Mendenhall. Bradshaw definitely has a resume which warrants a good tire-kicking, the biggest question surrounding him asks if his legs can take it.

Bradshaw was a major component of two Super Bowl championships during his time in New York, however lower-body injuries have prohibited his play from matching his potential. Considering the Steelers had no desire to deal with Wells' injuries, why would they be interested in a similar risk?

While the Steelers current stable of backs have yet to invoke any confidence in the team or its fans for the future, they are no more of a risk than a fragile, agile back like Bradshaw. Jonathan Dwyer recorded two 100-yard rushing performances in 2012, and won the starting job over Mendenhall by year's end. Isaac Redman has been a fan favorite since joining the team, but has failed to excite as a starter outside of a 100-yard game of his own during a playoff loss in Denver to the Broncos in 2011. Baron Batch has ended both of his NFL seasons on injured reserve, and is considered a third-down back and special teams ace primarily.

Outside of Bradshaw and the upcoming NFL Draft, the team is running out of options to choose from. If Bradshaw fails his physical or simply asks more than the team is able or willing to pay, he will leave empty-handed like Wells; but if he passes every test and keeps himself affordable, his career could be granted an extension.

The Steelers are not the only team to have expressed interest in Bradshaw, but he is still a free-agent. There is probably a reason he is still a free-agent, and so should be expected to still be a free-agent following his visit. However, should the team suffer a major injury to their RB group in training camp and Bradshaw is still available, he could receive another invite.

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