The Arizona Cardinals are often referred to as Pittsburgh Steelers-West and the pipeline continued today with former Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mendenhall is heading out west after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cardinals.
And Cardinals reached an agreement in principle on a one-year deal with former Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 13, 2013
It was a rocky final season for Mendenhall in a Steelers uniform as he started the season recovering from ACL surgery, then never emerged as the featured back he once was, experiencing plenty fumble and discipline problems along the way.
Mendenhall had the worst season of his five-year NFL career since his rookie campaign of 2008. The two-time 1,000 yard back carried the ball only 51 times on the season for a paltry 182 yards (3.6 ypc).
I felt during the season that Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin mishandled Mendenhall and made him a scapegoat for the Steelers lousy rushing attack, but Mendenhall didn’t do himself any favors along the way.
The day he failed to show up for a game against the San Diego Chargers due to being inactive, the writing was on the wall for his Steelers career, losing the respect of teammates and many fans along the way.
But the Arizona situation could be the perfect one to rejuvenate Mendenhall’s career.
He will likely be the primary ball carrier and will reunite with former offensive coordinator, who is the Cardinals new head coach.
Many will look at Mendenhall and see him leaving as just walking out on his teammates just once more, but the reality of the situation is that the Steelers couldn’t pay him and if there is one guy who probably needed a change of scenery, it was Mendenhall as he is still a very talented back.
The Illinois product was also drawing interest from the Cincinnati Bengals and had a visit scheduled with the Denver Broncos, but he ultimately found his new home in Arizona.
Keep checking back to City of Champions Sports for updates on all of the wheeling’s and dealings of free agency.