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Mendenhall may have played his last snap as a Steeler

Rashard Mendenhall AP

A month ago, Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert provided a gloomy outlook for running back Rashard Mendenhall’s recovery from a January 1 ACL tear. Colbert said the Steelers wouldn’t count on Mendenhall to be ready for Week One, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review subsequently reported Mendenhall would open the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

After speaking to team sources, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an even more pessimistic view of Mendenhall’s future.

Bouchette suggests Mendenhall has taken “his last carry” in Pittsburgh, and that he might not play at all in 2012.

Sources told the Post-Gazette that the Steelers don’t believe Mendenhall will return to form “until at least the 2013 season,” and by that point Mendenhall may have signed elsewhere. Due a $700,000 salary in the final year of his rookie deal, Mendenhall’s contract expires next March.

If this is it for Mendenhall’s Steelers tenure, it will end disappointingly. The 23rd pick in the 2008 draft did churn out two 1,000-yard seasons, but Mendenhall holds a pedestrian career average of 4.14 yards per carry and drew the ire of the Steelers’ organization in May of 2011. Mendenhall never seemed to improve after a promising 2009 season. His development in the passing game has plateaued in recent years, and on several occasions last season the Steelers’ offense operated more smoothly with Isaac Redman in the backfield.

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85 Responses to “Mendenhall may have played his last snap as a Steeler”
  1. skoobyfl says: Mar 19, 2012 8:31 PM

    He’s a great guy, that can’t play football well.

  2. bigbadal21 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:33 PM

    He never seemed to take his job seriously. He had the talent but not the desire.

  3. redguy12588 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:34 PM

    Once again, no real loss here. If anything, the Steelers will get a 3rd round pick for him after he leaves.

  4. broncoforlife says: Mar 19, 2012 8:36 PM

    Lamar miller to the steelers

  5. cheers4ablumpkin says: Mar 19, 2012 8:37 PM

    He sucks anyways

  6. sasattack says: Mar 19, 2012 8:39 PM

    I concur. Underachiever.

  7. muckman207 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:39 PM

    no loss

  8. steelernationsparksjealousy says: Mar 19, 2012 8:39 PM

    Yes!

  9. johntonioholmes says: Mar 19, 2012 8:40 PM

    As a Steelers fan, it pains me to say this, but I think Ray Lewis ruined his career.

    Mendenhall was a bruising back until his scapula was shattered by Ray. Ever since, he was prone to dancing in the hole instead of just hitting it.

    He turned out a very good season in 2010 but regressed in ’11.

    Injuries to the o-line were no help, but he continued to evade hits instead of dealing them like he did in 2010.

  10. ryanclark25 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:40 PM

    Hate to see anyone go like this. If it is the end thanks for the few years Rashard. There’s been plenty higher picked rbs that did a hell of a lot worse than 2 1000 yard years in 4 years (and his rookie year pretty much doesnt count, really shouldnt have told ray rice he was going for a big day, big ray didnt seem to take it to well, hence rashard spending most of year on IR) Hope he recovers and comes back….once he shuts up.

  11. righthereisay says: Mar 19, 2012 8:44 PM

    Whippiddee doo. Waste of draft pick. A few good runs, a major fumble in the Super Bowl. Good bye. Time to use the 25th pick we’ll get for Wallace for a Running Back. Maybe trade the 25th pick and our pick for a higher 1st rounder….

  12. gimmeabruschi says: Mar 19, 2012 8:44 PM

    Too bad. I hate to see these really bad injuries put a guy out of the game way before his time. And this is also a reminder why the bounty thing has to be slammed very hard. Making things like this happen on purpose is unacceptable.

  13. agc99 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:45 PM

    Good bye

  14. cardsfann1 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:47 PM

    Good. Never liked him and really disliked him after his comments about our navy seals killing Osama Bin Ladin.

  15. heyzeus143 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:47 PM

    Rashard dancing- hall, fumble-hall, you name it – guy just is not a tough runner, need a line first anyway

  16. 6andcounting says: Mar 19, 2012 8:48 PM

    A classic illustration of why teams should never draft a RB in the first round. In that draft, the steelers could have drafted Ray Rice in the second round. RB’s are a dime a dozen.

  17. ccoolahan14 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:50 PM

    The funniest part is that they took him over Ray Rice! Now Rice owns them.

  18. mdavid36 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:50 PM

    Losing Mendenhall would be huge for the Steelers. He has a big play ability and the speed to get to the outside. After coming off a torn ACL, he won’t be a highly sought after free agent and the Steelers would be able to sign him to a short, incentive laden deal. Should not give up on him yet. I would love to see him shut his mouth though.

  19. idealisticapathetic says: Mar 19, 2012 8:50 PM

    I think Mendypants still has some tread on the tires. He is physical and possesses plus vision – and some team will get a nice complementary piece for 2013 with some tread left on the tires for a few years afterwards if he stays hungry.

    His career is NOT over. And more than 4 ypc in the NFL isn’t pedestrian Mr. Silva. It’s pretty darn good for a 4 year average on a throw-first team.

  20. mrslay1 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:53 PM

    To bad for this guy. Just goes to show why guys like Hillis need to make sure they get paid when their healthy. The Steelers really screwed up when they didn’t get Hillis

  21. bandjammer says: Mar 19, 2012 8:54 PM

    Great running back. They just didn’t use him effectively. They are a dime a dozen though. He was a bruiser who finally got bruised. Should have stayed at Illinois for his senior year.

  22. crusty14 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:55 PM

    Rice owns them? I think that’s a bit much!

  23. modellforprez says: Mar 19, 2012 8:56 PM

    good bye see-ya. the fumble machine bin laden sympathizer can leave now for all we care. idk if we have magnus smothadovich in the backfield this dude sux mafutta really run right into tacklers then wanna spin n shtai take mapoopy moore or LESS with you.

  24. marshawnlynchlookslikepredator says: Mar 19, 2012 8:56 PM

    Michael Bush and Redman would be a punishing backfield.

  25. donjuan1906 says: Mar 19, 2012 8:56 PM

    As a Browns fan, some of you so-called faithful in Steeler Nation are brutal as hell towards guys that played for next to nothing for you guys.

    But when your spoiled by greatness, its easy to sh*t on someone that conrtibuted on that level.

    Very sad to see people say that kind of stuff.

  26. doe22us says: Mar 19, 2012 8:58 PM

    I guess that comment he made in a twist of fate, sealed his fate.

  27. rtk23 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:01 PM

    Another crybaby steeler who wet his pants once to often. Waaaaaaaaaah!

  28. datd00d says: Mar 19, 2012 9:01 PM

    Very, very sad. It’s one thing to see a guy like Jamal Anderson or Terrell Davis go out with a serious injury, but it’s another to see a guy who just scraped at his potential fizzle away like this.

    Mendenhall could have been truly special. He had a running style that reminded you of LT, but he weighed 230lbs. And he still ran a 4.4.

    The collarbone injury hurt his power running in the early years, and from then on it was a lot of passing and bad run blocking. If it does end like this – bon voyage Mendys, and thanks for the good years.

  29. andyb053 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:02 PM

    Looks like he did have pedestrian numbers but I thought the dude was very solid. And this is coming from a Steeler hater.

  30. 1grub says: Mar 19, 2012 9:05 PM

    Mendenhall isn’t very good. Redman is better. /Ravens fan

  31. hines86for6 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:06 PM

    Cut him, take the minimal cap savings and offer our 3rd or 4th pick for jonathan stewart, the back i wish we had got in that 08 draft.

    J stew is obviously not in their long term plans with the tolbert signing and williams contract. He’s also on the last yr of his contract so you would think h.e could be had cheaply

  32. nflfan555 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:07 PM

    He is a jerk, him and Rothlesrapersburger classless donks

  33. babyhorsemorgan says: Mar 19, 2012 9:08 PM

    Mendenhall’s eyes are going to bug out if he reads this article.

  34. babyhorsemorgan says: Mar 19, 2012 9:09 PM

    Well, at least they got Limas Sweed with their second round pick that year.

  35. flaccounibrow says: Mar 19, 2012 9:10 PM

    ccoolahan14 says:Mar 19, 2012 8:50 PM

    The funniest part is that they took him over Ray Rice! Now Rice owns them.
    ________________________________

    Can I have some of what you are smoking? Rice has 1 , 100 game against the steelers. His YPC is 3.2 and in 2009 he averaged 2.1 YPC against them. Give me a break.

  36. paulieorkid says: Mar 19, 2012 9:10 PM

    (1) Mendenhall unfairly gets a bad rap for a number of things. I hope it works out for him, wherever he goes — but I do agree his 2012 is shot in terms of him playing any kind of meaningfully productive football.

    (2) Mendy got hurt in a game we had Ben out the hobbling around. If we’d have made the obvious decision to rest Ben for the postseason – we’re not even in this mess. So ridiculous.

    (3) Knowing (since January) that Mendy is going to be basically useless this year, why the hell didn’t we simply steal triple threat Peyton Hills? For a number of reasons, Hillis was wayyy undervalued – dude can move the chains, has sweet hands plus he can protect the QB. Un-effing-real. So KC, who already has Charles, gets him. Credit to KC — and what the hell were we thinking?

  37. staph1nfection says: Mar 19, 2012 9:14 PM

    I was surprised to see his average was 4.14 YPC – I would have guessed lower.

  38. upyoursnfu says: Mar 19, 2012 9:15 PM

    This article is by the same guy who suggested Tolbert was going to the Steelers. No facts, all speculation, no clue.

  39. ygkr85 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:16 PM

    I can see him signing a one-year deal with a team in 2013 and putting up strong numbers for a contender. Come back hungry RM!

  40. bikeman99 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:17 PM

    Rashard will play again, Bouchette is a fool.

    He is the last reporter to get a story and make stuff up all the time based on what he thinks the team should do.

    I understand Mendenhall is working into shape doing his PT.

    If the Rooneys would spend money on an offensive line both Roethlisberger and Mendy would be healthy.

    Right now the Steelers have a bunch of unproveb stiffs at RB and you can take that to the bank

  41. tackleberries says: Mar 19, 2012 9:21 PM

    You know that pedestrian Curtis Martin? You know the guy being inducted this year? 4.0 yard per carry.

    Mendenhall is no legendary back, but calling that average pedestrian is just silly.

  42. paulbrown46 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:23 PM

    The Browns were just too tough on him . . . and Worthlessberger.

  43. stevietimmy says: Mar 19, 2012 9:26 PM

    4+ yards/carry=pedestrian? If you say so… But I would take 3rd and 2 most any day of the week.

  44. Deb says: Mar 19, 2012 9:27 PM

    I wish Rashard all the best, but my Steeler fantasies these days feature Trent Richardson. Roll Tide!

  45. northsidesteel says: Mar 19, 2012 9:33 PM

    I watched Mendenhall in college and was happy when the Steelers drafted him. I am sorry for his injuries and hope that he can be once again be productive in another system. He has real talent, that has been hurt by his inability to recover from injury but the bottom line is that his is borderline wacko. The Steelers will put up with high preforming alcoholics that make bad choices, but not injury prone borderline wackos.

  46. steelcityrapist says: Mar 19, 2012 9:33 PM

    Dont let the door hit ya on the way out!

  47. franklamar17 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:35 PM

    I hope we keep him,he is a very good back.better than a lot of people give him credit for

  48. steelerdynasty2010 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:36 PM

    Preparing to commence happy dance!….
    As soon as it’s official

  49. howiehandles says: Mar 19, 2012 9:36 PM

    “Once again, no real loss here. If anything, the Steelers will get a 3rd round pick for him after he leaves.”

    ********************

    No one is giving you a 3rd pick, or any pick for that matter, for a guy who most likely won’t even play this season.

  50. maxvain says: Mar 19, 2012 9:37 PM

    Hey Steelers Fans… Trade your 1st in 2012 and 2013 to Miami if Trent Richardson is still available at 8.

  51. eyeh8goodell says: Mar 19, 2012 9:42 PM

    Any 4+ YPC is a very solid average, and it’s especially solid given the state of the Pittsburgh’s line in recent years. Adrian Peterson would’ve struggled with that line. Only 1 of the top 20 backs in the league in carries last year hit the 5 YPC mark. And only 3 of the top 20 in rushing yards hit the 5 YPC mark……and 2 of them had significantly fewer carries than the leaders.

    Definitely a bummer of an ending for Mendy with the Steelers if this is truly the case. He’s been a good back, especially behind Pittsburgh’s horrific line. Just because of that his upside is still very good if you can get rehabbed properly and then him behind a line that can actually block once in a while.

  52. steeelfann says: Mar 19, 2012 9:45 PM

    Mendy could be tough in middle, could take it outside. I think many fans can’t get past that fumble in the super bowl against Green Bay. Packers could not stop the Steelers in the second half, they are moving toward taking the lead on the 20 or so of the Pack, and he fumbles. Just killed whole momentum.
    Took a hard hit on the ball from Matthews, but ya know, he still fumbled. He is the kind of back you like but you just can’t fall in love with and marry.

  53. mikesmajormojo says: Mar 19, 2012 9:46 PM

    Hey folks – Come on! No one’s saying that his career is over. These kinds of injuries typically take 2 years to recover from fully and in that time his rookie contract will expire. The time off might make him as or more hungry and perhaps even a better player (see Cedric Benson). BTW, Mendenhall’s comments were taken way out of context and then blown way out of proportion. He actually is a really nice guy… a little naive but his heart is in the right place. Perhaps we have seen the last of him in a PIT uniform, but I doubt we’ve seen the best of him yet.

  54. eyeh8goodell says: Mar 19, 2012 9:47 PM

    “Too bad. I hate to see these really bad injuries put a guy out of the game way before his time. And this is also a reminder why the bounty thing has to be slammed very hard. Making things like this happen on purpose is unacceptable.”

    ———————

    Nonsense. That was a picture perfectly clean shoulder to shoulder hit that should be celebrated. And I’m a Steelers fan. There was nothing at all wrong with Ray’s hit, and that would not be any different even if there was a bounty. If anything, your statement is proof positive of how far not only the game has devolved, but how the fans have devolved as well…….to the point you’d call for punishments on clean hits like that (that are clean even by today’s standards).

  55. steelerfan9598 says: Mar 19, 2012 9:53 PM

    Redman is better anyway. I like Dwyer too.

  56. nimbushex says: Mar 19, 2012 9:56 PM

    I’m tired of people saying Mendenhall is the more “talented” back, Isaac Redman is flat out better. His work ethic and powerful running trumps Mendenhall’s natural athletic ability any day of the week.

  57. joe6606 says: Mar 19, 2012 10:00 PM

    Hated the pick at the time and am still bitter.

    Perfect example of why a RB should NEVER be drafted in the 1st round. There are always diamonds in the rough, with equal or more desire who can be found much later in the draft.

    Also a perfect cautionary tale to those delusional Steeler fans who are hoping someone takes Wallace. You just don’t dump a quality starter for a roll of the dice hope that a pick will end up becoming a starter unless you are absolutely forced to.

  58. sixburghrules says: Mar 19, 2012 10:08 PM

    I have never been a fan of Mendehall! Never was really great…Serviceable yes. I think they could do better with Redman….He sealed his fate by taking Bin Ladens side last year! No one will touch him now! Tainted meat! Thanks for your effort in Pittsburgh but good riddance

  59. 6ball says: Mar 19, 2012 10:13 PM

    .

    Steelers might be better served signing Benjarvis Green Ellis.

    Mendenhall morphed into Lawrence Maroney.

    .

  60. sixburghrules says: Mar 19, 2012 10:14 PM

    eyeh8goodell says: Mar 19, 2012 9:47 PM

    Nonsense. That was a picture perfectly clean shoulder to shoulder hit that should be celebrated. And I’m a Steelers fan. There was nothing at all wrong with Ray’s hit, and that would not be any different even if there was a bounty. If anything, your statement is proof positive of how far not only the game has devolved, but how the fans have devolved as well…….to the point you’d call for punishments on clean hits like that (that are clean even by today’s standards).
    ____________________________
    I agree..Clean hit. He is just not durable. Seperated shoulder one year, broken leg the next and he had a tendency to put the ball on the turf. I would rather take my chances with the younger guys

  61. jollyrob68 says: Mar 19, 2012 10:16 PM

    Sign Ben Jarvis Green Ellis. Now.

  62. sixburghrules says: Mar 19, 2012 10:18 PM

    a little naive but his heart is in the right place.
    ___________________________
    Sounds like STUPID to me! Bin Laden had not right to take those lives. Mendenhall was an idiot for making that statement

  63. sixburghrules says: Mar 19, 2012 10:19 PM

    I am ready to move on without him!

  64. sixburghrules says: Mar 19, 2012 10:24 PM

    eyeh8goodell says: Mar 19, 2012 9:42 PM

    Any 4+ YPC is a very solid average, and it’s especially solid given the state of the Pittsburgh’s line in recent years. Adrian Peterson would’ve struggled with that line. Only 1 of the top 20 backs in the league in carries last year hit the 5 YPC mark. And only 3 of the top 20 in rushing yards hit the 5 YPC mark……and 2 of them had significantly fewer carries than the leaders.

    Definitely a bummer of an ending for Mendy with the Steelers if this is truly the case. He’s been a good back, especially behind Pittsburgh’s horrific line. Just because of that his upside is still very good if you can get rehabbed properly and then him behind a line that can actually block once in a while.
    ________________________________

    And I guess that CJ2K blames his line too! I would not have him either!

  65. ericn42000 says: Mar 19, 2012 10:25 PM

    Hes better than Felix Jones!!!!!

  66. sixburghrules says: Mar 19, 2012 10:27 PM

    I can only see him doing better this year if he is buying a new contract otherwise Thumbs Down

  67. philrat says: Mar 19, 2012 10:28 PM

    Actually 4 yards a carry is a good average per carry, especially for a Steelers team that never invested much in their offensive line as far a high round draft pick or talented free agent.

  68. bensstinkyfingers says: Mar 19, 2012 10:33 PM

    The rebuilding continues in the Pitts. Bottom of the AFC North will welcome you for the next decade. you had a good run though.

  69. stopbeingajagoff says: Mar 19, 2012 11:01 PM

    @bensstinkyfingers

    YOU WISH.

  70. maverick2560 says: Mar 19, 2012 11:05 PM

    It is a shame how cold hearted the nfl is…he played well for two years and seemed to be almost shedding his rep.. A rep that included frustration from his college coaches ..that he really didn’t seem to have that intensity…that matched his natural size and ability….he just never got over the hump..ie. the fumble in the super bowl…his inability to score in close…his less than enthusiastic pass blocking … But it is an acl that he can overcome…..despite bad timing…perhaps like his first year when he was injured maybe he will realize what he has…remember he is still young and really does not have excessive mileage on him….

  71. InFact says: Mar 19, 2012 11:14 PM

    SB XLV lost fumble killed ‘da Steelers.

  72. randomcommenter says: Mar 19, 2012 11:16 PM

    Draft Baron Batch in the last round of your fantasy draft this year. Steelers drafted him last year to be a change of pace back and they loved him but he blew out his knee.

    Batch will be a good fit with the power running Redman.

    Mendenhall’s problem is that he’s big but doesn’t run like a big back and isn’t great at short yardage. He runs more like a speed back but his speed is just good but not great.

  73. numba1recx19 says: Mar 19, 2012 11:18 PM

    Ya umm no way. Mendenhall is too good, he will play this season. He will come back, he will make the pro bowl. And Miami will win the super bowl!!!

  74. Deb says: Mar 19, 2012 11:28 PM

    @bensstinkyfingers …

    Pittsburgh couldn’t hit the bottom of the AFC North if we wanted. We wouldn’t be able to knock your Browns out of the way. Can you ever find anything football-related to say?

    @maxvain …

    As a Tide fan, I know exactly what Trent Richardson brings to a team. But if we had to give up our 2012 and 2013 first-round picks to get him by the 8th pick, it would be because he was way overvalued. In today’s game, no running back should go that high. They’re just not worth it. Trent’s a first-round pick, but even being the best RB in the draft, he shouldn’t go until the late teens or early 20s. It’s not going to happen, but we should be able to trade down just a few spots to get him.

  75. chucknorrissinspiration says: Mar 19, 2012 11:31 PM

    Tomlin said they’d run him til the wheels fall off two years ago and well….

  76. ravenator says: Mar 19, 2012 11:51 PM

    Haloti Ngata will still forever haunt your dreams Mendenhall.

    You’ll soon be unemployed in the NFL and have nothing left to tweet but the K Mart midnight specials from your weekly night shift. Good riddance.

  77. steelersallday says: Mar 20, 2012 12:48 AM

    more bad news for the steelers .. what a big surprise ! everything I’ve read from this whole offseason has been bad.. the first good thing i read was thet mike tolbet might join and the next day it said thats absolutely was wrong , please something good happen !!!

  78. cluelessdufus says: Mar 20, 2012 2:08 AM

    Wow this is tough news for the franchise he is one of the best RB in the league. Supposing that Mike Wallace ends up in Denver my 2nd favorite team first the vikings.The passing game will be tough I would just start the franchise over sorry Steelers fans

  79. joeflaccosunibrow says: Mar 20, 2012 5:58 AM

    My favorite Mendenhall highlight:

  80. sudz28 says: Mar 20, 2012 6:45 AM

    Can’t say I’m sorry to see him go. He was a decent, serviceable back but nowhere near as powerful or efficient as the Steelers needed him to be, and so long as he was on the roster he was crowding out potentially better backs. I wish him well going forward, but I’m glad to see that position get something of a shake-up after 4 mediocre years.

  81. mitchitized says: Mar 20, 2012 7:57 AM

    I just hope the Steelers never draft a running back higher than the third round. EVAR. Like drafting a punter in the third round – it just makes no sense, and it’s been 30 years proven…

    I have super high hopes for Baron Batch. Sounds smart, dedicated, good attitude and work ethic. I suspect with ownership’s mandate to return to balanced football, they will be able to grind up the chains with a committee approach.

    Pouncey was clearly a stud in the early rounds, sure hope they don’t have to wait another 20 years to get another smart mauler for the o-line (regardless of what Roethlisberger thinks or says). This o-line is abominous! (Thanks Emmitt.)

  82. steeelfann says: Mar 20, 2012 8:28 AM

    This is really all about nothing and it is not newsworthy in the least.

    We all know (sorry, most of us) that when Mendenhall tore his ACL, he had a good chance of never carrying the ball for the Steelers again. This is his last year under contract next season. So he misses most or all of his rookie contract due to injury.
    Of FREAKING COURSE it might be over for him. He is a running back and the Steelers will not give him a whole lot of money. Even if he was uninjured and started next year, the Steelers would probably let him go and they probably would not have a choice as he would then be a free agent.

    This story is silly.

  83. Deb says: Mar 20, 2012 12:40 PM

    @steeelfann …

    That is exactly right. It was the same story with Santonio. People made such a big deal about us dumping him when we did, but even if he’d stayed the last year of his contract, he’d have been gone the end of that season. The Steelers would never have paid him what he’d have demanded and were already planning for life without Tone. The same is true with Rashard. We never expected him to be with the team after the 2012 season, so this is a tragedy for him in the last year of his contract, not for the team.

  84. camocav213 says: Mar 20, 2012 6:29 PM

    he’s just not a good fit for pitt

  85. gnutella0 says: Mar 22, 2012 10:09 PM

    I’ve tried to like Rashard Mendenhall, but he’s just never had the intensity necessary to be a great RB. He’ll run over and through defenders one week, and then dance around them the next. His fumbling problem is overstated, but that fumble during Super Bowl XLV ultimately killed the Steelers’ chances of winning the game, and unfortunately, it’s stuck as his “signature” play.

    With that said, if he’s the worst first-round draft pick of the Kevin Colbert era, then that just illustrates how well the Steelers have done during the first round of the draft.

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