Report: Cardinals RB Rashard Mendenhall done in NFL
Mendenhall is coming off a season in which he gained a team-high 687 rushing yards eight touchdowns for the Cardinals. And while Mendenhall also played in 15 games for the Cardinals, he averaged only 3.2 yards per carry as he hampered by a toe injury and knee soreness last season. Mendenhall never fully recovered from an ACL injury in 2011, which played a major role in his performance during the 2012 and 2013 season. As a result, CBSSports.com ranked Mendenhall No.139 on this offseason’s free agent list.
Before signing a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Cardinals last offseason Mendenhall also played five seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who selected him in the first round (at the 23rd overall spot) of the 2008 NFL Draft. Mendenhall had his best career years in Pittsburgh, where he gained 1,108 yards rushing as well as seven touchdowns in 2009 and ran 1,273 yards along with 13 touchdowns in 2010.
The Illinois product originally entered the NFL with high expectations after he had a successful college career in which he led the Fighting Illini to a Rose Bowl berth during his senior year.
The 26-year-old Mendenhall ends his NFL career with 1,081 carries for 4,236 yards and 39 total touchdowns over six seasons.
The Cardinals’ roster at running back is currently filled by former second round pick Ryan Williams, second year players Andre Ellington and Stephan Taylor, as well as Robert Hughes, a third-year player from Indianapolis with a total of six games experience during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Hughes ended the 2013 season on the Cardinals’ practice squad. Meanwhile, restricted free agent running back Alfonso Smith’s time in Arizona may be up, according to reports, as the team will let him test the market this year.
With Mendenhall gone, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is reportedly inclined towards making Ellington the starter and a focal point of their offense for the 2014 season.