Former Steelers' RB Mendenhall confirms retirement

Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall (28) rushes against Seattle Seahawks defensive...

Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall (28) rushes against Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (92) during the second half at CenturyLink Field. (Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports)

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, Last Updated: 1:17 PM ET

Running back Rashard Mendenhall explained why he is retiring from the NFL in his latest Huffington Post blog on Monday.

Mendenhall wrote that he was tired of being in the public eye, including being called racial slurs on social media.

"I just kind of wanted to disappear," Mendenhall wrote. "The fact that I was done playing would've been clear once some time had passed and I hadn't signed back with the Cardinals or any other team. Maybe people would've thought I couldn't get another job. Either way, I was OK with the idea of fading to black, and my legacy becoming, 'Whatever happened to that dude Rashard Mendenhall? He was pretty good for a few years, then he just vanished.' "

Reports surfaced Saturday that Mendenhall was informing NFL teams interested in signing him as a free agent that he is retiring.

His agent, Mike McCartney, confirmed via Twitter earlier Monday that Mendenhall decided to end his NFL career after six seasons, five of which were with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"The reports are true: @R_Mendenhall is retiring from the NFL. Rashard will explain why in his own words very soon. Stay tuned," McCartney wrote.

Mendenhall also wrote about the rigors of NFL life and the toll public criticism took on him.

"Imagine having a job where you're always on duty, and can never fully relax or you just may drown," he wrote. "Having to fight through waves and currents of praise and criticism, but mostly hate. I can't even count how many times I've been called a 'dumb n-----.' "

In his final season last year, Mendenhall rushed for 687 yards and scored eight touchdowns for the Arizona Cardinals. But he averaged just 3.2 yards per carry compared with Cardinals running back Andre Ellington's 5.5 average, giving Ellington a leg up on the starting job in 2014.

Mendenhall was the No. 23 overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Steelers. His best years were in 2009 and '10 when he rushed for 1,109 yards and 1,273 yards before he suffered an ACL tear in 2011. In his final season with the Steelers in 2012, he was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team -- he was a no-show for a game.

The 26-year-old Mendenhall walks away with 4,236 career rushing yards and 39 touchdowns.

As for the future, Mendenhall spoke with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians after the 2013 season and shared his plans to write and explore new opportunities outside of football.

 


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