Rashard Mendenhall Press Conference Transcript Thursday Super Bowl XLV

Rashard Mendenhall Press Conference Transcript Thursday February 3rd Super Bowl XLV

QUOTES FROM STEELERS PRESS CONFERENCE

RUNNING BACK RASHARD MENDENHALL

(on how well the offensive line played against the Jets) “In that AFC Championship, the offensive line did a great job. They controlled the line of scrimmage all day. Once it’s playoff time, the stakes rise and nobody wants to go home.”

(on what they need to do to successfully run the ball on Sunday) “I think it’s the same formula and that’s controlling the line of scrimmage. With those they have up front, their front seven, you’re going to have to get bodies and bodies. Everybody is going to need to get blocked and have movement if you want to make plays. They have a good tackling secondary so we have to break tackles and make plays as running backs as well.”

(on the injuries along the offensive line) “Facing a lot of adversity, they’ve done a great job. I know it all starts with their Offensive Line Coach Sean Kugler. He does a great job with those guys and they’re always on the same page. They mix and match and different linemen have to play different positions but no matter which five are out there, they all mesh because they all have an understanding. They’ve done a great job of being very productive in the face of adversity.”

(on the Packers’ defense) “I think it’s just the speed of the defense. They have great talent from Clay Matthews to Charles Woodson, Defensive Player of the Year. The whole defense runs to the ball, very disciplined in the right spots. It’s not an accident that they’re the second best defense in the League and why they’re here today.”

(on pass blocking and giving Ben Roethlisberger enough time) “As running backs, we don’t have any clocks in our heads. It would be nice to try and cut a guy and watch him get up but Ben (Roethlisberger) might still have the ball. For us, it’s an all day job. That’s something we do. We’re not always running the ball and in today’s game, as advanced as the passing game is, as a running back you have to be able to run routes, you have to be able to pick up rogues if you want to be in there.”

(on what it means to be in the Super Bowl) “It means a lot for us to be here as a team. Personally, with all the work you put into it in the offseason and all of the training you do, for you to be in a place like this where everybody is watching you on the biggest stage, for us and for me personally, we want to take full advantage of it.”

(on Packers LB Clay Matthews) “He’s just a relentless rusher. He’s obviously very athletic and football-minded. He’s in the right spots. For us, you have to account for him. As running backs, you have to help and chip and things like that. We’re confident in our ability to do that. We’ve faced guys like Terrell Suggs and great pass rushers in the past so it’s nothing new for us.”

(on what ‘feeding the gunpowder’ means) “It’s basically finishing runs, finishing runs powerfully and violently. At the end of the run, the defender is getting the blow, not you.”

(on if he would consider the AFC Championship game his best as professional) “I think it’s up there. I think for the masses it is, being on a stage like that and the way the game went. For me, I’ve played a lot of great games. It’s not necessarily always 100 yards like people would like to see. As far as reads, decisions and execution, I’ve had games on that level but not in the AFC Championship and not for 120 yards against a great opponent.”

(on if his personality is keeping him under the radar) “I understand what it is in this league. If you don’t draw attention to yourself, it’s easy to be overlooked. For me, I’m not going to change who I am for that sake but when you’re quiet and kind of reserved, it’s easy to be overlooked.”

(on if he won Super Bowl MVP would it be like introducing himself to the world) “Just like the Jets game, I think for the masses, it would be like that. But, it’s something that I work for, prepare for and I expect going into a game. So for me, it wouldn’t be as much of a surprise but something I expect.”

(on if he would embrace the spotlight if he were to win Super Bowl MVP) “In the way that I would, yes. I would never change who I am. With this game, when you’re doing good, people love you and when you’re doing bad, nobody cares about you. It’s been like that for me. When I’ve had a good game, then everybody in on you but if I don’t have 100 yards, then you’re really nothing. So, I’m used to going back and forth where I’ll still be me in the midst of all of it.”

(on if there were any running backs he emulated when he was coming up) “Not necessarily emulated. I think there are certain guys whether it’s Barry Sanders or Walter Payton or Gale Sayers. As a running back, I watch all kinds of running backs. I mostly study other running backs who have been great from the past to this day, like (Jerome) Bettis, Willie (Parker), guys who have played for the Steelers, to even Adrian Peterson. I watch what makes all of these running backs great and see what I can do, what I can pull from them, how I can improve myself. As long as I’m playing, I want to continue to improve.”

(on what is the secret to being so hard to tackle and on if that is part of the ‘gunpowder’ theory) “I think the gunpowder is one part of it. With me having the ability to do a lot of different things, whether it’s run through somebody or make somebody miss, it makes you really tough to tackle. Then, when I study, I always look at what decisions I made in certain circumstances and why it worked or why it didn’t and what I can do better. If I have an angle and I feel like I can out-run somebody, I will. If it doesn’t work, the next time I’ll try something else. To be able to use anything in any situation makes you tough to tackle.”

(on what Hines Ward means to the team) “When you say the name Hines Ward, everybody knows exactly who it is. All of that speaks for itself. He’s a great player. He’s a great character guy who means so much to this franchise. He’s been a part of it since the 90s. He’s part of the glue that keeps this whole thing running. He means so much to the young guys on this team, especially those receivers. He’s a guy, even for how great he is and for as much as people know him, they don’t really know as much as what he actually does.”

(on what his preparation is like) “It’s the same as any other week. With the all the sideshows of the Super Bowl, there’s more that you have to do, but for us, as far as our preparation for the game, we keep everything normal and the same because that’s the formula that got us here.”

(on his Saturday night ritual) “For me, it’s always the same thing. We have our meetings and things like that but every day for me is the same. Whatever I feel like doing, the only time I really think about the game is when I get to the stadium and I make it like that on purpose.”

(on the key to doing that) “I think it’s just not riding the emotional roller coaster and not getting up in the media and your families and the excitement that you’re in the Super Bowl. If you spend time being excited and things like that, come game time, you really haven’t prepared. I think it’s just getting all that aside and looking at it where it’s like this is the last game of the year, one more playoff game that we have to win.”

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.