Former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has taken to the Huffington Post via a blog post to share his happiness of being in Arizona.
The Steelers former first-round draft pick, who signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals early in the free-agent signing period, claims that, while only being settled in his new Arizona home for a short time now, that it has been “beautifully quaint, humbling, and simply joyful.”
Mendenhall, who was a bit of a head case during his five years in Pittsburgh, also writes that he enjoys the beautiful weather, the warm people and the local Waffle House in Arizona, among other things. In addition, he claims that he can now breathe in the air of a completely new place and leave all things that are behind him, exactly where they belong.
Mendenhall, who I regard as a heavy thinker, is really cryptic in his post, as one would expect, but he did, however, admit before leaving Pittsburgh that he never felt comfortable there, and that he felt like if he were to remain in Pittsburgh, he would perhaps have to force himself to be someone he wasn\’t.
“By the nature of being in the NFL and being in the locker room, representing the Steelers, you have to be a certain way and things have to be a certain way,” Mendenhall told John Harris of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review back in December following his one-game suspension for conduct detriment to the team for not showing up for the game against the San Diego Chargers after being told he would not play. “Yes, if I want to stay here, I have to be in a certain box.”
Later in his interview with Harris, Mendenhall hinted a little more that he was open to exploring his options as an unrestricted free agent after the 2012 season ended.
“When I first got here, I thought that I wanted play with one team,” said Mendenhall, who also told Harris that change of scenery might rejuvenate his career. “With a lot of how I\’ve been represented football-wise, I\’m closed off and to myself.
“I don\’t say a lot or do a lot, and because of that, people really don\’t know who I am. They really can\’t read me. So it\’s up to others to interpret who I am.
“People want me to act a certain way when I move around Pittsburgh. That\’s when it gets frustrating. Sometimes when people try to project the football player image on me, that\’s when it doesn\’t fit.”
Mendenhall, who rushed for over 3,500 yards in his first five seasons, is mostly remembered by the Steelers fanbase for his comments about 9/11 immediately following the killing of Osama bin Laden as well as his fumble in Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers. Perhaps those two instances are what he is best trying to put behind him now.
Right now, Mendenhall is probably feeling like he isn\’t boxed up in Arizona, but he is likely to regain that boxed up feeling again if the Cardinals do not fix their offensive line next offseason. We\’ll see just how beautiful Arizona really is to him, and just how warm the people are, if he only rushes for three yards a carry.
Hey, at least Mendenhall has a Waffle House there. Perhaps that was the house that Lebanese author and poet, Khalil Gibran, who Mendenhall quotes in his post, once wrote about. In case you are not familiar with the greasy spoon restaurant chain, they have hash browns that you can get scattered, smothered and covered. That\’s a perfect way, in my opinion, to describe Mendenhall right now.