Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall will be suspended for one week, including next Sunday's game in Dallas.
By Ed Bouchette Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers have suspended halfback Rashard Mendenhall for one week, including next Sunday's game in Dallas for what the team explains was "conduct detrimental to the team."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has learned that Mendenhall did not show up for last Sunday's game at Heinz Field against the San Diego Chargers after his coaches told him he would not be active for the game. Even though they cannot play, inactive players on the Steelers usually join the team on the sideline unless injuries prevent them, although not in uniform.
Mendenhall, the Steelers No. 1 draft choice in 2008 and their feature back the past three seasons, has had a difficult year because of injuries. He lost his starting job two weeks ago and has not dressed the past two games after being demoted to third string.
The Steelers signed halfback Baron Batch from the practice squad to replace Mendenhall on the 53-man roster this week.
Mike McCartney, Mendenhall's agent, said the player will serve his suspension and then return to them next Monday in good spirits.
The suspension will cost Mendenhall $41,176, which is one week's (1/17th) worth of his $700,000 salary.
"What's happened, happened," McCartney told the Post-Gazette. "When I spoke to Rashard, I know he is very excited next Monday to rejoin his teammates. He's going to come back with great energy to do everything he can to help the Pittsburgh Steelers win football games."
Mendenhall missed most of his rookie season when, in the fourth game, Ray Lewis hit him and fractured his shoulder. He went on to lead the Steelers in rushing with 1,108 yards in 2009. He rushed for 1,273 yards in 2010. He had 928 yards rushing last season when his ACL was torn in the final regular season game at Cleveland after eight carries.
He missed the first three games of this season as he continued to recover from the knee injury and then started in the fourth game against Philadelphia. He looked as though he were on top of his game that day. He rushed for 68 yards on 13 carries and had another 33 yards on three receptions, including one of 13 yards for a touchdown, the first score in the Steelers 16-14 victory in that game against the Eagles. For the season, he has run 34 times for 113 yards and no touchdowns, and caught seven passes for 61 yards and one TD.
However, he injured his Achilles in the next game. He missed the next four games, then returned Nov. 18 to start against Baltimore at Heinz Field. He carried 11 times for 33 yards as he split time with Jonathan Dwyer. He started again Nov. 25 against Cleveland but fumbled twice on four carries, losing two of them. He hasn't dressed for a game since.