Rashard Mendenhall

Rashard Mendenhall

refer to caption

Mendenhall in a game against Cleveland Browns.
No. 34, 28
Position: Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1987-06-19) June 19, 1987
Place of birth: Skokie, Illinois
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High school: Skokie (IL) Niles West
College: Illinois
NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 23
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Attempts: 1,081
Rushing yards: 4,236
Rushing average: 3.9
Rushing TDs: 37
Player stats at NFL.com

Rashard Jamal Mendenhall (born June 19, 1987) is a retired American football running back who played in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Illinois. Mendenhall also spent one season with the Arizona Cardinals. Against the Cardinals, he won Super Bowl XLIII with the Steelers.

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 No. 1 recruit in the state of Illinois by Scout.com.[1] 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 Sport Management.[2]

Mendenhall was on the cover of Sporting News' High School Football Magazine.[3] 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.[4]


Season Games Rushing Receiving
Att Yds Avg TD Lng Yds ds Avg TD Lng
2005 10 48 218 4.5 0 18 13 82 6.3 2 16
2006 12 78 640 8.2 5 86 12 164 13.7 1 76
2007 13 262 1681 6.4 17 79 34 318 9.4 2 55
NCAA Career Totals 35 388 2539 6.5 22 86 59 564 9.6 5 76

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
5 ft 10 in 225 lb 4.41 s 1.53 s 2.56 s 4.18 s 33.5 in 9 ft 9 in 26 reps
All values from NFL Combine

Pittsburgh Steelers (2008–2012)

Mendenhall was drafted 23rd overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2008 NFL Draft.[5] Prior to his rookie season Mendenhall was ranked by ESPN as the 30th best running back in the league.[6] On July 25, 2008, Mendenhall agreed to a five-year contract worth US$12.55 million with the Steelers,[7] of which $7.125 million is guaranteed.[8] He was expected to be a complement to Pro-Bowl running back Willie Parker,[9] in addition to returning kicks.[8] Mendenhall fumbled twice in Pittsburgh's third pre-season game against Minnesota; they were attributed to adjusting to the faster pace of the NFL.[10] 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."[11] Mendenhall was required to carry the ball everywhere he went until the team's next game.[11] Mendenhall fumbled once more in the Steelers final pre-season game,[12][13] but worked with running backs coach Kirby Wilson to fix the problem.[14]

Mendenhall entered the 2008 regular season as the Steelers' youngest player.[15] He took on return duties in addition to his running back position.[15] Entering the fourth week of the 2008 season, Willie Parker suffered an injury which allowed Mendenhall to make his first NFL start.[16] Mendenhall rushed for 30 yards on 9 carries,[17][18] but was forced to leave the game with a fractured shoulder in the third quarter after a hit by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.[19] Mendenhall was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.[20] Mendenhall finished his rookie season with 58 rushing yards on 19 carries and 115 yards on six kick returns.[21][22]

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.

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 for the first time since 2009. 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.[23]

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 8 rushing TD's for the Cardinals [24]


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!".[25][26][27]

Career statistics

Team Season Games Rushing Receiving
Att Yards Avg TD Long Rec Yards Avg TD Long
Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 4 19 58 3.1 0 12 2 17 8.5 0 11
Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 16 2421,108 4.6 7 60 25 261 10.4 1 26
Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 16 3241,273 3.9 13 50T 23 167 7.3 0 24
Pittsburgh Steelers 2011 15 228928 4.1 9 68 18 154 8.6 0 35
Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 6 51182 3.6 0 20 9 62 6.9 1 15
Arizona Cardinals 2013 15 217687 3.2 8 28 18 134 7.4 0 24
NFL Career Totals [28] 72 10814236 3.9 37 68 95 795 8.4 2 35


Osama bin Laden tweet

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;[29][30] one tweet seemed to support 9/11 conspiracy theories."[31][32][33] Sports-based websites wrote articles critical of Mendenhall's comments.[32][33][34] Mendenhall attempted to clarify his position a day after the tweets, writing he did not mean to stir up controversy, but "generate conversation."[34][35] Champion announced that they ended their endorsement deal with Mendenhall on May 5 following his comments.[36]


Mendenhall currently works as a story editor for the HBO football comedy Ballers.[37][38]


  1. "Scout.com". Scoutb.com (Press release). 2004-12-10. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
  2. FightingIllini.com bio
  3. "Sporting News' High School Football Magazine cover image". Sporting News (Press release). 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
  4. Rashard Mendenhall & Malcolm Kelly on Best Damn Sports Show on YouTube
  5. Bouchette, Ed (2008-04-28). "Steelers draft RB from Illinois, WR from Texas to protect Big Ben". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
  6. "James, Bush headline second tier of running backs". ESPN.com. 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  7. Bouchette, Ed (2008-07-26). "Mendenhall, Sweed sign with Steelers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-07-26.
  8. 1 2 Mandak, Joe (2008-07-25). "Steelers sign No. 1 pick to 5-year contract". NFL. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2008-07-27.
  9. Harris, John (2008-06-17). "Expect much from Mendenhall". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-06-17.
  10. Brown, Scott (2008-08-25). "Mendenhall having trouble hanging onto ball". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  11. 1 2 Prisuta, Mike (2008-08-26). "Mendenhall gets gripping lessons". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
  12. Brown, Scott (2008-08-28). "Steelers nip Panthers with last second field goal". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  13. Bouchette, Ed (2008-08-29). "It's a Reed-thin margin again". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  14. Pompei, Dan (2008-08-30). "Gripping drama unfolds in AFC North". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
  15. 1 2 Dulac, Gerry (2008-09-06). "Mendenhall gets fresh start from Tomlin". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  16. Associated Press (2008-09-23). "Steelers will be without RB Parker, DT Hampton against rival Ravens". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
  17. "Week Four GameCenter". Play-by-Play. NFL.com. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  18. "National Football League Game Summary" (PDF). Baltimore Ravens At Pittsburgh Steelers. NFL.com. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  19. Bouchette, Ed (2008-09-30). "Four Steelers hurt; Mendenhall, Simmons to injured reserve list". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  20. Varley, Teresa (2008-09-30). "Injuries leave Steelers thin at running back". PittsburghSteelers.com. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  21. "Rashard Mendenhall". Career stats. NFL.com. 2008-09-30. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  22. Bouchette, Ed (31 January 2009). "Steelers rookie Mendenhall reacquainted with team". Pittsburgh Post-Gaztte. Retrieved 1 February 2009.
  23. http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Steelers-Suspend-RB-Rashard-Mendenhall-Activate-RB-Baron-Batch-From-Practice-Squad/e12031e0-bbeb-487f-9482-4d5e87a2c4be
  24. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9048226/arizona-cardinals-agree-deal-rashard-mendenhall-source
  25. "'The Huffington Post'" (Press release). 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-03-10.]
  26. Cardinals' Rashard Mendenhall reportedly retiring
  27. Running back Rashard Mendenhall to retire from NFL - ESPN
  28. ESPN - Rashard Mendenhall Stats. ESPN. Retrieved 2013-03-19
  29. "Furore as NFL star Rashard Mendenhall lashes out at people who celebrated bin Laden's death". Daily Mail. 04-05-11. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  30. "Rashard Mendenhall's bin Laden Tweets raise eyebrows". CBS News.
  31. "Steelers Running Back Creates Stir Over Tweets on Bin Laden's Death". Associated Press. 03-05-11. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  32. 1 2 Hurley, Michael (03-05-11). "Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall Defends Osama Bin Laden, Saying 'We've Only Heard One Side'". NESN. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  33. 1 2 Iyer, Vinnie (03-05-11). "Rooney responds to Mendenhall's tweets about bin Laden". AOL Sporting News. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  34. 1 2 Tomlinson, Sean (04-05-11). "Rashard Mendenhall attempts to clarify himself". The Score. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  35. "Michael Vick chimes in on bin Laden death". Sporting News. 05-06-11. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  36. Smith, Michael David (May 5, 2011). "Rashard Mendenhall loses endorsement deal with Champion". Profootballtalk.com. Retrieved 2011-05-06.
  37. http://www.steelersdepot.com/2015/07/hbo-glad-to-have-mendenhalls-expertise-for-ballers/
  38. http://blog.azcardinals.com/2015/07/06/ex-cards-mendenhall-rhodes-work-hollywood/
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