RB battle keeps backs in shape

One the toughest battles in training camp this year is at running back, with veterans Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Baron Batch and rookie Le'Veon Bell, all competing not just for the starting job, but for coveted playing time.

"(Coach) Kirby (Wilson) let us know that the starting job is open, the third-down back is open, pretty much every position is open in the running back room," said Redman. "I'm all ready for the competition. I worked hard all summer. Hopefully, it will pay off."

Last year there were three different starters at running back, with Dwyer starting six games, Redman five and Rashard Mendenhall, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, four games. The goal this year is to find that one back that can hold down the fort as the starter, and each of them want to be the man.

"You always want to come in and be the starting running back," said Redman. "All I can do is my part and come out and practice hard and give it all I have. That's my goal and that's what I worked hard for all summer long."

Knowing what was ahead of them this camp had the entire group taking it to another level this offseason, and the results are showing. Redman's offseason workouts had center Maurkice Pouncey saying he looked faster, something he takes pride in.

"I feel like I'm a little quicker because of the weight that I have lost," said Redman. "It's basically 10 pounds that I don't have to carry around with me.* *

"I know last year I worked hard in the summer, but I feel like I could have done more. I could have started earlier. This year I started a lot earlier and I got my weight down a lot earlier, so I wasn't battling my weight when I got to training camp."

Dwyer, whose weight has been an issue during his career, also focused on getting in better shape. He lost between 25-30 pounds, dropping down to 230 pounds, and wants to be at 225 for the first preseason game against the New York Giants on Aug. 10 at Heinz Field.

"I have been working my butt off as much as I can to get in the best possible shape as can be," said Dwyer. "I was dieting and working hard, two or three times a day. I was not just losing weight, but being in condition. I want to be like that the rest of my career.

"This is the best shape I have been in since I have been in the league. I have more energy and feel more explosive and quicker."

Dwyer hinted of his weight loss via his Twitter account this summer, but said when most of his teammates saw him at camp they had to do a double take. He hopes it will aid him as he fights to win the starting job.

"I just want to be the best," said Dwyer. "Last year I got a taste of how to play. I know what I can do, what I bring to the table. I don't want to just be average. I want to be among the elite."

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