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Mendenhall sounded ready to leave, even before suspension

Rashard Mendenhall, D'Qwell Jackson AP

Even before his suspension for not showing up for last week’s game, Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall knew he was playing out the string in Pittsburgh.

After he lost his starting job, was a healthy scratch against the Ravens, his decision to bail on the Chargers game, the suspension and his pending free agency created a pretty clear path to the door.

“I would have to weigh everything, but ultimately I’ve never been a person to do things out of comfort,” Mendenhall told Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review prior to his suspension. “I‘m going to do whatever is right regardless. I’m not going to hang around for a reason like that just because I’ve been here.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said not showing up last week was inexcusable.

“I deem those actions a detriment to our efforts,” Tomlin said. “I stated as such when I met with him, and there would be repercussions of it. We had a good visit. He accepted it.”

Mendenhall had a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons, thinks Steelers fans will only remember his fumbles, getting demoted or his Osama bin Laden tweets.

“Anything that happens, which is usually negative, that’s the only picture people have of me,” Mendenhall said. “When you think of Hines Ward, you think of his smile. You can forget if he drops a pass. There’s something to balance it out.”

Mostly, he seems to feel constricted there.

“By the nature of being in the NFL and being in the locker room, representing the Steelers, you have to be a certain way and things have to be a certain way,” he said. “Yes, if I want to stay here, I have to be in a certain box. . . .

“When I first got here, I thought that I wanted play with one team. With a lot of how I’ve been represented football-wise, I’m closed off and to myself. I don’t say a lot or do a lot, and because of that, people really don’t know who I am. They really can’t read me. So it’s up to others to interpret who I am.

“People want me to act a certain way when I move around Pittsburgh. That’s when it gets frustrating. Sometimes when people try to project the football player image on me, that’s when it doesn’t fit.”

Based on those comments, you wonder if Mendenhall will feel valued in his next stop, which is clearly coming soon.

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36 Responses to “Mendenhall sounded ready to leave, even before suspension”
  1. muckman207 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:25 AM

    You sir, are no Hines Ward.

  2. ravenator says: Dec 13, 2012 8:25 AM

    What an awful first rd pick

  3. getyourownname says: Dec 13, 2012 8:30 AM

    The picture most people have is of a bumblebee costume. Understandable that’s not an image he wants to fit.

  4. flushdownmikebrown says: Dec 13, 2012 8:33 AM

    I love seeing the Steelers lose control of everything…. getting old, losing discipline, rebuilding ahead.

    If they didn’t have Big Ben, they would be bottom 5 teams in the NFL

  5. steel420 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:34 AM

    WTF is wrong with this guy? I don’t care who you are you friggin’ egomaniac. Run the damn ball! He wants to know why we remember Hines Ward’s positives? How about 12,000 career receiving yards?!?

  6. phatnate says: Dec 13, 2012 8:34 AM

    “I‘m going to do whatever is right” Really? I don’t think not showing up for your well paid job qualifies as anything resembling right. And saying “it’s up to others to interpret who I am” is arrogant and and shows that Mendenhall thinks the world revolves around him.

  7. ghelba2 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:34 AM

    this is why he won’t be missed in Pittsburgh not because of his fumbles, It’s because of his attitude. All he wants to do is cry and complain about everything and has this no one likes me attitude about himself. I don’t care what he said or wants to say the bottom line is he isn’t that good never has been. A bust of a first round pick

  8. mancinibread says: Dec 13, 2012 8:37 AM

    Good luck Mendy. You’re a strange dude and I think the better parts of your career are likely in the rearview mirror at this point. Hope you find whatever makes you happy.

  9. boothisman says: Dec 13, 2012 8:40 AM

    As someone that lives in Pittsburgh, I will weigh in here since Mendenhall is telling you what I, and the other people of this city, think about him.

    Nobody is picking on him. Nobody is talking about his fumble riddled first few seasons anymore. Everyone is happy with his recent efforts, and up until the Browns game, nobody was speaking ill of him. Sure he stunk in the Browns game, so did a lot of people, but he should have taken his punishment and kept his mouth shut. Now he wants to act like he’s some pariah, and I can assure you nobody in this city cares.

    The Steelers can put anyone in at running back and make them look good (see – Bam Morris, Barry Foster, Amos Zereoue, Willie Parker, etc), so if he wants to try his hand somewhere else, well good luck.

  10. trojanwarrior007 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:44 AM

    The wheels are slowly coming off Tomlin’s bus.

  11. sudz28 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:44 AM

    Did this mediocre injury-laden fumble machine seriously compare himself to Hines Ward? Not even close. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out (seriously, you might get injured if it does).

  12. gpatrick15 says: Dec 13, 2012 8:44 AM

    The standard is the standard. If you can’t live up to that and what is expected as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers (or any franchise, honestly), then you’re free to go as soon as you complete your contract. Yes, he had a pair of 1,000 yard rushing seasons, and he did help carry the offense during Bens’ 4 game suspension, but there was always too much bad to balance out the good. Hines Ward was the ultimate competitor. If he dropped a pass, yes we forgave him because he did so much more right that the scales tipped in the positive direction the majority of the time. The fans will remember the good, but they’ll also remember the foolish comments and the way you never went up the middle. 1,000 yards can be achieved by nearly anyone. It’s a whole lot less impressive when you have RB’s running for 1,600 and 1,700 yards regularly.

  13. wtf2812 says: Dec 13, 2012 9:01 AM

    Yeah, Rashard, in Pittsburgh they expect a certain thing …. they expect you to be a professional. They expect you to do your job and not be moping and tweeting degrading things about the U.S. after Bin Laden was killed. If you hustle and perform, fans will love you. If you screw up and screw up more than once, well, it is what it is. Don’t blame the organization or the fans.

    Look in the mirror.

  14. csilojohnson says: Dec 13, 2012 9:03 AM

    Good riddance mendy. Don’t drop the ball on your way put the door.

  15. myroncopesflask says: Dec 13, 2012 9:07 AM

    Although Mendenhall is kind of a dope I think the Steelers senior leadership need to take some heat for how they handled him this year. I understand that AP is tearing the league up after a speedy return from his leg injury but he is the exception to the rule.

    Rashard should not have been on the field 6-7 months after he ripped up his ACL. His premature return along with an already crappy O-line that is crappier due to injuries should have ended with a trip to the IR not the Tomlin/Yinzer doghouse.

    As a Steelers fan I hate that Tomlin allows the comments and boos from silly Yinzers dictate how he manages his team and gets short and snippy any time his decisions are questioned.

    When Mendenhall was healthy and getting the ball the Steelers did not lose to teams like Oakland and San Diego. I hope the drunken Yinzers are happy when they see the Steelers depth chart next year and the likes of Wallace and Mendenhall are not on it. I know their division rivals are going to be when they see that!

  16. larryboodry says: Dec 13, 2012 9:18 AM

    What a waste of talent…I find it hard to believe any other team will sign him next year.

  17. steelersownyou says: Dec 13, 2012 9:28 AM

    I can’t stand the guy but I do remember him running the ball into the endzone against the ratbirds in the playoffs with a minute left in the game in 2010 to end the ratbirds in the playoffs yet again! Awful pick Ravenator? Absolutely not. But he was a disappointment. Watch yourself when you talk about awful picks. The ravens drafted flacco! Now that’s awful!!!

  18. myroncopesflask says: Dec 13, 2012 9:29 AM

    “I deem those actions a detriment to our efforts,” Tomlin said… Just to play devil’s advocate can somebody please explain to me how a player that would be there in street attire/sweats not being on the sideline is a detriment to any effort?

    I could see if we are talking about a high school/college team in which a certain rah-rah atmosphere is expected but we are talking about professionals. Mendenhall not being on the sideline only prevents the obligatory minute of shame in which the camera pans onto Rashard in sweats and Jim Nance says “Look at him, he is not active because he sucks”. Does that help the steelers efforts?

  19. norseyapper says: Dec 13, 2012 9:30 AM

    I imagine he’ll get signed somewhere and the team that does so will brag about how many yards he had not that long ago. Cancer is cancer though and who ever invites this moron into their locker room deserves what they get.

  20. tomthebombtracy says: Dec 13, 2012 9:55 AM

    Rashard Fumbleball will live in Steelers memory as long as Ray Rice terrorizes the Black and Gold.

    The Steelers chose Mendenhall in the first round and then, because we assume they had their stud RB, they then drafted another Swiss Cheese handser, WR Limas Sweed in the second round…a couple spots ahead of Rice.

    Nice drat that year. Mendenhall, Sweed, Bruce Davis, Tony Hills, Dennis Dixon, Mike Humpel and Ryan Mundy. Need to call Interpol to find some of these guys today.

  21. jmays77 says: Dec 13, 2012 9:57 AM

    I’ll remember him by how he always dances in the backfield, instead of running the football. He’ll never be a starting running back in the NFL again

  22. ravens4fr says: Dec 13, 2012 10:10 AM

    Rashard has Never been the same since his near-death collision with Ray Ray!

  23. doorharp11 says: Dec 13, 2012 10:25 AM

    He should have quit i wouldnt play with james harrison either that guy is dirty and tainted

  24. ziggy26 says: Dec 13, 2012 11:15 AM

    Mendenhall was not an awful first-round pick. Actually, he was quite good.

    As any knowledgeable NFL fan knows, since he was selected outside the top 10, he signed an affordable contract (5 years, 12.5 million, 7M guaranteed).

    He produced 3,900 total yards and 30 touchdowns between 2009 and 2011 (1,300 yards and 10 TDs per season).

    That’s very good production for a relatively low salary cap hit.

  25. steelerben says: Dec 13, 2012 11:15 AM

    I’ve never been a fan of Mendenhall. And it has never had anything to do with his attitude, his being off the field with injuries, or his twitter account.

    It was the way he never just hit the hole and got the yards that were there.

    I’m sure he will go somewhere else and he might even have success there. Maybe he goes to Detroit or Arizona, they’re dying for a running back.

  26. Stiller43 says: Dec 13, 2012 12:51 PM

    I dont remember him for any of those things. What i do remember (or rather currently think of him) is that he’s just not a very good running back.

    I was ready for him to leave for over a year now, and will shed no tears when he does. Along with wallace. Good riddance to both.

  27. originalsteelcurtain says: Dec 13, 2012 1:42 PM

    Physically, Mendy is a feature RB.

    Mentally, Mendy is a scrub.

    Buyer beware!

  28. ccoolahan14 says: Dec 13, 2012 1:51 PM

    “Mendenhall ready to leave Pittsburgh….”

    Him and every other person who’s ever been there.

    Props to the Steelers for taking him in the first round when the Ravens took Ray Rice in the second round of the same draft. There’s a reason why the Steelers are always looking up in the standings- even with the refs giving them games.

  29. Deb says: Dec 13, 2012 4:40 PM

    The public eye is a very unforgiving place. I doubt the fans who judge athletes so harshly would last long there themselves.

  30. muckman207 says: Dec 13, 2012 5:54 PM

    Dolphins or Cardinals…

  31. TD Hawk says: Dec 13, 2012 6:46 PM

    Mr. Mendenhall, you will be remembered, if at all, as an idiot and very soon will rue the day you left a championship franchise.

  32. slammer69 says: Dec 13, 2012 10:56 PM

    He still “Here!”

  33. whutevr says: Dec 14, 2012 4:40 PM

    Gotta give the guy a LITTLE credit. Pittsburgh’s OL still having all kinds of trouble making holes for these guys. As much as they want to go back to being a strong running team, guys like Rashard can’t succeed if their big, offensive linemen can’t do their jobs. That being said, maybe they can use his salary to sign a 2nd string QB to to take over for that sissy Leftwich.

  34. steelwarriors55 says: Dec 14, 2012 11:06 PM

    ccoolahan14 says:Dec 13, 2012 1:51 PM

    “Mendenhall ready to leave Pittsburgh….”

    Him and every other person who’s ever been there.

    Props to the Steelers for taking him in the first round when the Ravens took Ray Rice in the second round of the same draft. There’s a reason why the Steelers are always looking up in the standings- even with the refs giving them games.

    And there is a reason why the Ravens dont win the big one it’s because they only take pride in winning their division.Congrats guy once again you’ll win the AFC North but will end up watching the Super bowl in your comfortable sofas at home

  35. sportsfan240 says: Dec 15, 2012 2:03 PM

    tomthebombtracy says:
    Dec 13, 2012 9:55 AM
    Rashard Fumbleball will live in Steelers memory as long as Ray Rice terrorizes the Black and Gold.

    The Steelers chose Mendenhall in the first round and then, because we assume they had their stud RB, they then drafted another Swiss Cheese handser, WR Limas Sweed in the second round…a couple spots ahead of Rice.

    Nice drat that year. Mendenhall, Sweed, Bruce Davis, Tony Hills, Dennis Dixon, Mike Humpel and Ryan Mundy. Need to call Interpol to find some of these guys today.

    ——————————————-

    Hindsight is always 50/50. There’s a reason the Steelers are always in the playoffs and perennial SuperBowl contenders, and it’s because they draft well. Every team has bad drafts, and the Steelers just happen to have bad drafts much less often than most teams. To dump on the Steelers for picking Mendenhall over Rice is just foolish and ridiculous. I highly doubt you knew at the time what these players would turn out to be, and if you have a crystal ball and did know, maybe you should become an NFL GM.

  36. wonderkt says: Dec 23, 2012 10:30 AM

    He’ll likely go where all the malcontent ex-Steelers go. New York Jets fans, say hello to your 2013 starting running back, Rashard Mendenhall!!

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