Rashard Mendenhall

American football player (born 1987)

American football player
Rashard Mendenhall
refer to caption
Mendenhall with the Steelers in 2009
No. 34, 28
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born: (1987-06-19) June 19, 1987 (age 36)
Skokie, Illinois, U.S.
Height:5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight:210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High school:Niles West
(Skokie, Illinois)
College:Illinois (2005–2007)
NFL draft:2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 23
Career history
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (2008–2012)
  • Arizona Cardinals (2013)
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:4,236
Rushing average:3.9
Rushing touchdowns:37
Receptions:95
Receiving yards:795
Receiving touchdowns:2
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Rashard Jamal Mendenhall (born June 19, 1987) is an American former football running back who played for six seasons in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Illinois Fighting Illini and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft. He won Super Bowl XLIII with the Steelers against the Arizona Cardinals, for whom he later played one season.

After his career, he became a writer for the television series Ballers writing 30 episodes of the series.[1]

Early years

Mendenhall attended Niles West High School and Lincoln Jr. High School in Skokie, Illinois. As a five-star prospect, he was also rated the best recruit in the state of Illinois by Scout.com.[2] He recorded 1,300 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore. As a junior, he rushed for 1,832 yards and 19 touchdowns, while averaging 11.6 yards per carry. In his last year, he averaged 9.1 yards per carry, rushing for 1,453 yards on 160 attempts and 14 touchdowns. Following his high school career, Mendenhall played in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

College career

Mendenhall played for the University of Illinois football team. His first season was in 2005, during which he rushed for 218 yards on 48 carries, adding 82 yards receiving and two touchdowns. In 2006, Mendenhall nearly tripled his rushing total, gaining 640 yards and scoring five touchdowns. He added 164 yards receiving and a touchdown, with 12 receptions. Throughout his final season with the Illini, Mendenhall rushed for a then school record 1,681 yards and 17 touchdowns. Throughout the 13 game season, he also had 318 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 34 receptions. He majored in Sports Management.[3]

Mendenhall was on the cover of Sporting News' High School Football Magazine.[4] On April 24, 2008, Mendenhall made a guest appearance on The Best Damn Sports Show Period in a segment called Best Damn Rookie Hazing, along with former Oklahoma wide receiver Malcolm Kelly.[5]

On May 8, 2023, Mendenhall was named as an inductee into the Illini Hall of Fame.[6]

Statistics

Illinois Fighting Illini
Season GP Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
2005 10 48 218 4.5 18 0 13 82 6.3 16 2
2006 12 78 640 8.2 86 5 12 164 13.7 76 1
2007 13 262 1,681 6.4 79 17 34 318 9.4 55 2
Career 35 388 2,539 6.5 86 22 59 564 9.6 76 5

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
5 ft 10+18 in
(1.78 m)
225 lb
(102 kg)
31+38 in
(0.80 m)
10+78 in
(0.28 m)
4.45 s 1.57 s 2.59 s 4.18 s 33.5 in
(0.85 m)
9 ft 9 in
(2.97 m)
26 reps
All values from NFL Combine[7][8][9]

Pittsburgh Steelers (2008–2012)

Mendenhall was drafted in the first round with the 23rd overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2008 NFL Draft.[10][11] Prior to his rookie season Mendenhall was ranked by ESPN as the 30th best running back in the league.[12] On July 25, 2008, Mendenhall agreed to a five-year contract worth US$12.55 million with the Steelers,[13] of which $7.125 million is guaranteed.[14] He was expected to be a complement to Pro-Bowl running back Willie Parker,[15] in addition to returning kicks.[14] Mendenhall fumbled twice in Pittsburgh's third pre-season game against Minnesota; they were attributed to adjusting to the faster pace of the NFL.[16] Days after the game, teammate Hines Ward placed a ball in Mendenhall's locker with a note stating, "Take Mendenhall's ball away and get $100 from him."[17] Mendenhall was required to carry the ball everywhere he went until the team's next game.[17] Mendenhall fumbled once more in the Steelers final pre-season game,[18][19] but worked with running backs coach Kirby Wilson to fix the problem.[20]

Mendenhall entered the 2008 regular season as the Steelers' youngest player.[21] He took on return duties in addition to his running back position.[21] Entering the fourth week of the 2008 season, Willie Parker suffered an injury which allowed Mendenhall to make his first NFL start.[22] Mendenhall rushed for 30 yards on 9 carries,[23][24] but was forced to leave the game with a fractured shoulder in the third quarter after a hit by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.[25] Mendenhall was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.[26] Mendenhall finished his rookie season with 58 rushing yards on 19 carries and 115 yards on six kick returns.[27][28]

In week 4 of the 2009 season, Mendenhall started in place of an injured Willie Parker. Against the San Diego Chargers, he jump-started his NFL career by rushing for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

After a 2009 season where Mendenhall ran for 1,108 yards and 7 touchdowns, his 2010 season proved to be even more impressive. In 2010 Mendenhall ran for 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns, helping lead the Steelers back to the Super Bowl against the Green Bay Packers, which they subsequently lost. The loss was aided by a 4th quarter fumble by Mendenhall that led to a Packers scoring drive.[29]

The 2011 season was a difficult season for Mendenhall, who only rushed for over 100 yards two times in 15 games. However, Mendenhall scored 9 touchdowns and had a 4.0 yards per carry average. On January 1, 2012, Mendenhall left the last regular season game against the Cleveland Browns with a knee injury on the final play of the 1st quarter. It was soon discovered that he had torn his ACL and was placed on the IR list. Mendenhall finished the year with 928 yards rushing.

On December 12, 2012, Mendenhall was suspended by the Steelers organization for a game against the Dallas Cowboys for not showing up to a game against the San Diego Chargers because he was deactivated due to inconsistent play.[30]

Arizona Cardinals (2013)

Mendenhall signed a one-year contract worth up to $2.5 million with the Arizona Cardinals on March 13, 2013. Mendenhall would end up scoring eight rushing touchdowns for the Cardinals [31]

Retirement

In March 2014, at the age of 26, Mendenhall retired from the NFL, saying, "Football was pretty cool, but I don't want to play anymore. I want to travel the world and write!"[32][33][34]

NFL career statistics

Year Team GP Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Avg Lng TD
2008 PIT 4 19 58 3.1 12 0 2 17 8.5 11 0
2009 PIT 16 242 1,108 4.6 60 7 25 261 10.4 26 1
2010 PIT 16 324 1,273 3.9 50T 13 23 167 7.3 24 0
2011 PIT 15 228 928 4.1 68 9 18 154 8.6 35 0
2012 PIT 6 51 182 3.6 20 0 9 62 6.9 15 1
2013 ARI 15 217 687 3.2 28 8 18 134 7.4 24 0
Career 72 1,081 4,236 3.9 68 37 95 795 8.4 35 2

Writing career

Mendenhall was a writer and story editor for the HBO sports comedy Ballers.[1][35] A number of scenes from the show were inspired by his own career.[36]

Controversies

Reacting to the death of Osama bin Laden and the American reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011, Mendenhall posted comments on his Twitter account criticizing the celebrations;[37] one tweet seemed to support 9/11 conspiracy theories.[38]

On April 11, 2019, during the public fallout between Mendenhall's former teammates Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, Mendenhall took to Twitter stating that the situation between Roethlisberger and Brown occurred because Roethlisberger is racist. Mendenhall tweeted, "Alright, I'll end the mystery...B's racist and @AB84 (Brown) is black. He had to catch balls from a racist quarterback. Every honest player knows it, it's not a big deal. He was just supposed to take his lickings and move on, like a slave for real." Mendenhall later attempted to back pedal on his remarks, saying that Roethlisberger was "not racist" just like Brown is "not a dirtbag" and "Clearly it's no fun, when EVERYONE's the accused."[39]

On December 18, 2023, Mendenhall posted on X, "I'm sick of average white guys commenting on football. Y'all not even good at football. Can we please replace the Pro Bowl with an All-Black vs. All-White bowl so these cats can stop trying to teach me who’s good at football. I’m better than ur [sic] goat."[40] The post drew widespread mockery and criticism, including from Robert Griffin III, who posted a video in which he said, "This is the tweet of a dumbass. Don't be a dumbass. These are prejudice, discriminatory, racial ideologies which set us back centuries. We don't want to go back to the old times. I don't want to participate in the segregation bowl."[41] Mendenhall followed up on the post five days later, saying "Did not intend to lessen my white football brothers. But honestly, they know that..".[42]

References

  1. ^ a b "HBO Glad To Have Mendenhall's Expertise For "Ballers" - Steelers Depot". www.steelersdepot.com. July 5, 2015.
  2. ^ "Scout.com". Scoutb.com (Press release). December 10, 2004. Retrieved March 15, 2008.
  3. ^ FightingIllini.com bio Archived July 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Sporting News' High School Football Magazine cover image". Sporting News (Press release). March 15, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2008.
  5. ^ Rashard Mendenhall & Malcolm Kelly on Best Damn Sports Show on YouTube
  6. ^ "Fighting Illini Athletics Announce Hall of Fame Class of 2023". May 8, 2023.
  7. ^ "2008 Draft Scout Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". draftscout.com. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  8. ^ "Rashard Mendenhall, Combine Results, RB - Illinois". nflcombineresults.com. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  9. ^ "Rashard Mendenhall 2008 NFL Draft Profile". insider.espn.com. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  10. ^ "2008 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved May 11, 2023.
  11. ^ Bouchette, Ed (April 28, 2008). "Steelers draft RB from Illinois, WR from Texas to protect Big Ben". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 27, 2008.
  12. ^ "James, Bush headline second tier of running backs". ESPN.com. June 4, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2008.
  13. ^ Bouchette, Ed (July 26, 2008). "Mendenhall, Sweed sign with Steelers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 26, 2008.
  14. ^ a b Mandak, Joe (July 25, 2008). "Steelers sign No. 1 pick to 5-year contract". NFL. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 27, 2008.
  15. ^ Harris, John (June 17, 2008). "Expect much from Mendenhall". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on June 17, 2008. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  16. ^ Brown, Scott (August 25, 2008). "Mendenhall having trouble hanging onto ball". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 25, 2008.
  17. ^ a b Prisuta, Mike (August 26, 2008). "Mendenhall gets gripping lessons". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved August 26, 2008.
  18. ^ Brown, Scott (August 28, 2008). "Steelers nip Panthers with last second field goal". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on September 1, 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  19. ^ Bouchette, Ed (August 29, 2008). "It's a Reed-thin margin again". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
  20. ^ Pompei, Dan (August 30, 2008). "Gripping drama unfolds in AFC North". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 31, 2008.
  21. ^ a b Dulac, Gerry (September 6, 2008). "Mendenhall gets fresh start from Tomlin". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved September 6, 2008.
  22. ^ "Steelers will be without RB Parker, DT Hampton against rival Ravens". ESPN.com. Associated Press. September 23, 2008. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  23. ^ "Week Four GameCenter". Play-by-Play. NFL.com. September 30, 2008. Archived from the original on October 2, 2008. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  24. ^ "National Football League Game Summary" (PDF). Baltimore Ravens At Pittsburgh Steelers. NFL.com. September 30, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 31, 2008. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  25. ^ Bouchette, Ed (September 30, 2008). "Four Steelers hurt; Mendenhall, Simmons to injured reserve list". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  26. ^ Varley, Teresa (September 30, 2008). "Injuries leave Steelers thin at running back". PittsburghSteelers.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  27. ^ "Rashard Mendenhall". Career stats. NFL.com. September 30, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2008.
  28. ^ Bouchette, Ed (January 31, 2009). "Steelers rookie Mendenhall reacquainted with team". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 1, 2009.
  29. ^ "Super Bowl XLV - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Green Bay Packers - February 6th, 2011". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
  30. ^ "Steelers Suspend RB Rashard Mendenhall; Activate RB Baron Batch from Practice Squad". Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  31. ^ "Cards agree to one-year deal with Mendenhall". ESPN.com. March 13, 2013.
  32. ^ "'The Huffington Post'" (Press release). March 9, 2014. Retrieved March 10, 2014.
  33. ^ "Arizona Cardinals' Rashard Mendenhall is retiring". NFL.com.
  34. ^ "Mendenhall, 26, retiring after 6 NFL seasons". ESPN.com. March 9, 2014.
  35. ^ "Cardinals Blogs - Ex-Cards Mendenhall, Rhodes work Hollywood". blog.azcardinals.com. July 6, 2015.
  36. ^ Kevin Cook (September 5, 2019). "Class Notes Profile: Gridiron Writer". Illinois Alumni. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  37. ^ "Rashard Mendenhall's bin Laden Tweets raise eyebrows". CBS News.
  38. ^ Barkhorn, Eleanor (May 3, 2011). "Rashard Mendenhall Doubts bin Laden Was Behind 9/11, and He's Not Alone". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  39. ^ Zucker, Joseph (August 26, 2020). "Ben Roethlisberger's Wife Ashley: 2019 Offseason Was 'Challenging' on Marriage". Bleacher Report. Retrieved December 23, 2023.
  40. ^ Popejoy, Curt (December 18, 2023). "Former Steeler Rashard Mendenhall takes to Twitter with yet another tirade". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved December 23, 2023.
  41. ^ Schmitt, Collin. "Steeler Nation: Pittsburgh Steelers News, Rumors, & More". Steeler Nation. Retrieved December 23, 2023.
  42. ^ Gaydos, Ryan (December 24, 2023). "Ex-Steelers player says he 'did not intend to lessen my white football brothers'". Fox News. Retrieved December 24, 2023.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Rashard Mendenhall.
  • Illinois Fighting Illini bio
  • Rashard Mendenhall at IMDb
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