Once Rashard Mendenhall elected to not come to the San Diego Chargers game after being made inactive, many believed the writing was on the wall in terms of whether or not the unrestricted free agent would be in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform in 2013.
In the month that has passed since the Steelers regular season ended, it has seemed even more unlikely that Mendenhall would return to the organization in which he has spent the first four years of his NFL career.
But maybe Mendenhall didn’t get that memo.
The Illinois product said through his agent that he isn’t closing the door on a possible return to Pittsburgh.
“I don’t know if he is going to return to Pittsburgh or not,” Mendenhall’s agent, Mike McCartney, said Friday to the Tribune Review’s Mark Kaboly. “But we certainly aren’t shutting any doors here. We would be crazy to do something like that. Pittsburgh is the flagship organization of the NFL, so we aren’t shutting any doors here.”
Of course that door may have already been slammed shut in his face, but Mendenhall probably doesn’t see things that way. The worst case scenario is that he is keeping his options open as regards to a return to the Steelers.
The reality of the situation is that the Steelers likely won’t be able to fit Mendenhall under the salary cap, nor would they probably be willing to do so right now if that is the route they wanted to head.
Even if they did, which seems doubtful, Mendenhall would likely test free agency first when the free agency period begins on March 12, which would likely price him out of the Steelers plans.
However that is all speculation at this point.
The reality of the situation is that while Mendenhall has left the door open for a return to Pittsburgh, the Steelers will likely slam that door shut.