Is Today The Last Birthday That Rashard Mendenhall Will Celebrate As A Steeler?

Today Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall celebrates his 25th birthday and you have to wonder if it is the last one that he will have as a member of the black and gold.

Mendenhall, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, more than likely will start the 2012 season on the PUP list as he continues to rehab the torn ACL he suffered in the regular season finale against the Cleveland Browns. Should that indeed come to fruition it means that he is guaranteed to miss at least the first six games, and likely even more. A return to the 53 man roster is more than likely to take place anywhere between week 9 and 13.

Even when Mendenhall returns, there could be a chance that he does not have a starting job to reclaim depending on how Isaac Redman performs during his absence. Regardless, the Steelers are likely to ease him back into action upon his return.

The former first round draft pick will be an unrestricted free agent following the season and you can bet that the Steelers will not use the franchise tag on him, even though he is likely to still have less than 1,000 regular season carries under his belt. That is not a lot of wear and tear on a feature back after five seasons.

You have to think that the next contract that Mendenhall receives will likely be his last though and I fully expect him to at least test free agency before taking any type of deal that the Steelers may offer him. Keep in mind that Antonio Brown will more than likely be the main focus of the Steelers next off-season, and so too could be Mike Wallace if a long-term deal is not reached prior to the start of this season.

While Redman too will be a free agent at seasons\’ end, he will be of the restricted variety and easily retained with tender. What level that tender will be is dependent on the type of season that he has this year.

Will Mendenhall hit a big payday in free agency though? Judging by the activity this past off-season, likely not. It also will not help the Illinois product being likely viewed by many organizations as damaged goods because of his knee injury either. Will a team still be willing to pay him though more than what the Steelers likely will offer? I think so, mostly because of his low mileage I discussed earlier.

Whether or not Mendenhall returns to the Steelers in 2013 depends all on the attention he gets in free agency. I am not willing to 100% say he could not return on a one or two year deal for near the minimum, but I really do not like odds this far out of it happening.

Happy birthday, Rashard, and make sure that wish is a good one when you blow out those candles. I would wish for a warm reception in free agency next off-season if I were you.

  • SteelerDave

    Rashard never quite lived up to what he could have and should have been for us. Sure, one can blame a poor O-line but way too often he simply danced and took a loss instead of hitting it forward. I’ve never liked his style even though he could explode for a long TD run. RB’s are easy enough to come by, Rashard lacks the elite talent and instincts.

  • Aiden

    the 2nd contract is where the meat is, $$$$ wise and 2nd tier RB’s are literally dime a dozen… handwritings on the wall, indeed.

  • James

    Redman, unless he is injured, will be the starting running back for every game this year. He’s simply a better and smarter runner. He broke more runs for 20+ yards than Mendenhall even though Mendenhall was the starter.

  • LJ

    ya i agree hes a good runner but that about it.wasnt crazy about him when they picked him and iam still not but goood luck to him

  • Mwormack

    Rashard, hasn’t been a great back, but he has been a solid back behnid what has been a poor line during his tender. He has speed and power and I felt could have been utilized more as a receiver. If he comes back healthy, I wouldn’t have a problem if the Steelers brought him back. Even if one of the other backs has a lights out season, having two good backs is a good problem to have.

  • Dan

    As I’m also unimpressed with Mendenhall, I would consider myself to be on the Redman bandwagon….I just have a vibe that somebody waiting in the wings right now might step up and be “the guy”. I suppose what we should really be hoping for is that the new O-line really works out. With a great line we can do well average runners, but it takes a really great back to overcome poor line play (though it has been done.)

  • Game_Time

    Agreed. If Mendenhall is healthy, I’d love to see him back (if the price was right) but not as the featured back. Redman is more of a power back and he fits the Steelers style of running. Mendenhall along with the other backs would be a perfect compliment to spell a bruiser back.

  • Jason White

    I want to see what Batch has to offer. I know pretty much what to expect from Rainey but I want to see how far Batch can work his way up the depth chart

  • Jprankster2005

    Hopefully and maybe we will get a nice pick in return for him leaving…… I didn’t think they should of payed him this yr. and saved the roster bonus and the salary but when Batch and Redman have the yr. they do I don’t think he will be back……

  • Jprankster2005

    There are reports that wallace will sit out training camp if a new deal is not signed….. Does anyone know when he has to sign the tender by or what? Is there a certain date that he has to sign it by? I know the 15th was a date that it could of been reduced but wasn’t, So he can just sit out all training camp is that the case? If so they should of reduced his salary Dave if you know the answner please let me know or anyone else…….

  • stan

    I think Mendenhall’s better than Redman but not by enough to break the bank for him. However, I think the issue of whether Mendenhall gets another contract from the Steelers to be more about whether he’s being “good” Rashard or “flaky” Rashard when it comes to learning the new playbook and working at his rehab. Even then, if any of Rainey, Batch, Clay or Dwyer break out then he’s gone.
    I should also add that with Redman’s running style the Steelers had better have some back-ups ready and waiting. With all the hits he takes he can’t possibly last more than 5 years.

  • stan

    Can the Steelers give him a 1st round tender and make him a restricted free agent? If he really comes on next year and none of the other back-ups takes a step forward that would be ideal.

  • Scottd7

    Mendenhall has little to no power. Runs tall. Doesn’t convert short yardage or goal line.
    He is power-less IMO

  • SteelersDepot

    No they can’t.

  • Jprankster2005

    I know this has nothing to do with the article but was just curious, If there is a certain day he absoulutely has to sign it by?

  • NW86

    Not sure if you’re talking about mendy or redman. Mendy, no they can’t. Redman, yes.
    When the article referred to mendy as a restricted free agent, it was a typo. He is unrestricted at the end of 2012.

  • Joseph

    Mendenhall is just another Amos Zereoue. As soon as he’s hit he falls flat or backwards. He doesn’t like the contact. Check out the stats. can’t believe anyone here would say Mendenhall is a better back than Redman. Redman falls forword and delivers the blow! He’s always been soft….

  • i think i read he can sit out the whole season till week 11

  • prediction…rashard will et out the entire season on irl…then next season his contract well not be renewed…redman, dwyer and clay well be 1,2,3 rb

  • mike wallace well screw himself out of a hall of fame career…he well be just like another randle el…no loyalty

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Randle El was overpaid a lot of money bt the Redskins…we wasnt going to over spend for what he was giving

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Mendy is our most complete back, however, Mendy doesnt have the heart to be a dominate HB in the league IMO. He has only stepped it up when Tomlin has put him in the dog house…he has shown the ability even with a poor OL…but I believe it is a desire issue…Redman is less talented but gets more out of his talent because he has heart and desire. In my honest opinion it is Dwyer who can step up and take the HB spot but he has off season issues that may bite him if he gets too comfortable.