- The play itself came in a key AFC North Showdown Sunday, December 5th at Baltimore.
Its 3rd and 9. Isaac Redman shows up in the huddle – he’s not even supposed to be one the field, but it’s too late, he must stay in. Ball is snapped. Redman “Goes out and gets open” here’s what happened (available as of 8/24/14):
Unfortunately, thanks to Roger Goodell’s You Tube Police, we lack a better quality video. But a high-quality video isn’t necessary to capture the essence of Isaac Redman:
- He wasn’t supposed to be there, yet with dogged determination he defied the odds to impose his will.
Isaac Redman, from Undrafted Free Agent to Steelers Nation Cult Hero
Even on the Steelers, a franchise crafted on giving undrafted rookie free agents a fair shake, these players face long odds. That’s especially true when they’re trying to make the roster of a defending Super Bowl Champion.
- None of that deterred Isaac Redman.
In the 21st century NFL training camps have become fairly mundane affairs, with contact minimized to a level that might perhaps make them unrecognizable to their form during Chuck Noll’s heyday. At St. Vincent’s, under Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin, the goal line drill offers a contrast.
- Redman got his shot in the goal line drill and scored twice.
- Still, it wasn’t enough to make the team.
From Cult Hero to Solid Backup
While Steelers management had taken a “Wait and see” attitude, Steelers Nation fell head over heels for “RedZone Redman.” He might have entered training camp behind 2010's 6th round draft pick Jonathan Dwyer on the depth chart, but that did nothing to deter fans.
To wit, when Behind the Steel Curtain polled asking fans who should win the training camp quarterback derby between Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon, and Charlie Batch, BTSC jokingly included Redman’s name, and Redman did well.
With a practice squad apprenticeship under his belt, Redman not only beat out Frank “The Tank” summers for a roster spot, but served as Mendenhall’s top backup for the year. If Redman lacked the speed and athleticism of Mendenhall, he was a bruising runner between the tackles who excelled at yards after contact.
- He didn’t start any games in 2010, but saw carries in all 15 save for the mid-season speaking administered by New England.
2012 Opportunity Slips Away
With Mendenhall recovering from his ACL, and Jonathan Dwyer consistently inconsistent, the stage was set for Redman to seize the starting role.
- Yet, that didn’t happen.
- Nonetheless, destiny gave Redman a final moment of glory.
2013 Redman’s Ride Reaches an Unceremonious End
Rookie Le’Veon Bell’s lisfranc injury and Jonathan Dwyer’s waiver made Redman the Steelers opening day starter in 2013. He promptly fumbled away his first carry and did nothing to redeem himself. A week later he suffered a concussion vs. Cincinnati, and later admitted to lying about it. Bell and Dwyer’s return saw Redman relegated to the bench, then the inactive list.
- In late October, the team cut Redman.
When yours truly suggested the team grant Redman a second chance in the offseason, fan reaction ranged from indifferent to hostile, and just plain hostile after Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount’s arrest.
- Yet there seemed to be a 2+2 = 3 nature to Redman’s story.
Why I'm not in the nfl. pic.twitter.com/Cn0LnPQXzQApparently, during those final eight games, Redman suffered a neck injury that went unreported. We’ll never know if he could have saved his career by admitting to his injury. Either way, Redman’s time came to an unfortunate end.
— Isaac Redman (@ired33) August 22, 2014
But, as ESPN’s Scott Brown remembered “Isaac Redman gave the Steelers his all.” Steel Curtain Rising thanks Redman for his service and wishes him the best in retirement.