Rashard Mendenhall surprised everyone over the weekend by retiring via Twitter. In the interviews following, Mendenhall surprised the NFL world with his reasons why.
It isn’t uncommon for NFL players to retire. However, it is uncommon for them to retire at such a young age, 26. Additionally, his explanation was that he was tired of sharing his private life with the public.
Upon a reflection of Mendenhall’s career, his story doesn’t really add up. There are 5 reasons that make questioning Mendenhall’s reasons for retiring reasonable:
1) Average at Best
Though he did play in two super bowls, Rashard Mendenhall wasn’t particularly productive.
However, his version of events is different, ”I feel like I have done it all.” He mentioned the money he made and how he traveled all over the country and the world.
While he is correct in that he has traveled a great deal, there are thousands of businessmen that travel more annually. In respect to all the money he made, he was on route to make about $2.5 this year, good enough to tie for 14th. That kind of money certainly doesn’t make him a one-percenter.
Yes, he has accomplished more than the average NFL player, but it’s certainly not fair to say he, ”did it all.”
2) Injured Constantly
Mendenhall played a total 72 of a total of 96 possible games — excluding playoffs — in his six year career. In other words, he was out of the line-up about 25% of the time. That lack of consistency meant he only reached 1,000 yards twice, and not once in the last three years.
3) Wrong Numbers
In 2013, Mendenhall had three more fumbles than he did touchdowns. In 2010, he had 13 touchdowns, but never reached 10 before or since. In 2012 he averaged his lowest average per attempt since his rookie year, then dropped again to 3.2 yards per attempt last year with Arizona.
4) Contrary to Claims, No Love for the Game
Mendenhall claims that he got a bad wrap throughout his career and that he actually loved the game. According to Mendenhall, it is his love for dancing, art and literature that gave him the reputation of being apathetic. In addition, he claims that the fact that, ”he is not an entertainer and never has been,” has damaged his reputation.
There may be some validity to what he says. The problem is, there’s nothing to say to the contrary. There are no teammates that claim he was the first one in or the last one out or that he was a play-book worm or that he had nothing but fire in his belly.
Rather than spending time in rehab after his rookie year injury, he was sighted in museums. He was benched the next year by Mike Tomlin for Willie Parker because of his, ”failure to be on the details (1).” He was accused of dancing in the hole rather than running decisively.
Contrary to his believe, he just can’t and has not, ”done it all.”
5) No Class in the Exit
Mendenhall didn’t say or do anything offensive when he retired, but it wasn’t a classy exit that made people think, ”maybe we lost a good one. Maybe we should re-evaluate the expectations we place on our athletes.”
Instead, everything he said sounded like he was blowing his own horn, and when he wasn’t, he was making excuses that just didn’t add up.
There is time for museums and literature and dancing after your workday. Cutting out of physical therapy early because of a love for culture isn’t a legitimate excuse. There is a solution to the difficulties created by social media, the intrusive nature of it: don’t participate.
Mendenhall is free to do whatever he would like, but make no mistake, this wasn’t a shocker. This is just a guy that saw his career winding down and tried to make a splash before he drifted into obscurity…
The exact opposite of what he claims he was doing.