Steelers' Mendenhall returns, addresses team
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall addressed his teammates Wednesday in hopes of defusing any distractions he might have caused with his weeklong suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
Coach Mike Tomlin suspended Mendenhall for failing to show up at Heinz Field for the team's upset loss to San Diego on Dec. 9.
Mendenhall offered no reasons for not showing but said he is focused on his immediate future.
“I don't know the decisions up there (coaches and front office), how they're made,” Mendenhall said. “Just for me, from the day I got here, I've continued to work as hard as I can and do everything I can, and with that, I'm OK.
“I can look at that and be complete with that. I'll just continue to work, and whatever happens, whatever opportunity is in front of me, it'll show itself.”
Mendenhall has struggled to recapture the form that enabled him to lead the team in rushing the past three seasons, in part because he has been slowed by a reconstructed right knee and an Achilles injury.
“We realize how hard he worked today to help us get to the Super Bowl, and that's what he said to us,” said running back Jonathan Dwyer, who supplanted Mendenhall as the team's feature back. “We accept him. We all look after each other, and we're glad to have him back.”
Running back Isaac Redman said the team has moved on and expects Mendenhall to contribute during the final two regular-season games.
“We know what kind of player he is,” Redman said “Rashard has never caused a problem here. He comes to work and does what he's supposed to do. It was just an unfortunate situation that he went through.”
Mendenhall becomes an unrestricted free agent at season's end and told the Tribune-Review recently that he was uncertain about his future with the team.
Mendenhall isn't sure if he'll be activated for Sunday's key AFC North matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field. He hasn't played since fumbling twice in a 20-14 loss at Cleveland on Nov. 25.
“I don't know what chances or opportunities are going to be given to me,” said Mendenhall, who has rushed for 113 yards on 34 carries this season. “I just want to continue to work every day.”
In suspending Mendenhall, Tomlin challenged him to deal with “frustrations” that may have triggered his actions after he was put on the inactive list for the second consecutive week. But Mendenhall pushed back against that characterization.
“I wouldn't use that word (frustration) because there's a lot of thought that goes into anything I do,” Mendenhall said.
While there may be some uncertainty surrounding Mendenhall, Redman is confident Mendenhall can add a spark against the Bengals, a game that could decide the Steelers' playoff fate.
“I feel like it's important to get Rashard back on the field,” Redman said. “For one, he's fresh, and he's proven year in and year out he's a good back in this league.”
Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers remain confident in defense
- Berry wins Steelers’ punting job; Wing traded to Giants
- Steelers laud decision, praise Brady for taking on Goodell
- With most starters resting, Steelers turn in lackluster loss at Heinz
- Steelers notebook: Thomas, Moats only starting defensive players to see action vs. Panthers
- Steelers accomplish mission to get younger, faster on defense
- In reworking contract, Steelers WR Brown gets hefty pay raise
- Bubble players get last chance to impress Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on Bryant suspension
- Rossi: Beleaguered Steelers need MVP from Big Ben
- Steelers running back eager to prove he can help bridge gap to Bell