2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Arizona's Mendenhall much more than a running back

    2013-08-22 02:22

(Eds: With AP Photo.)
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Rashard Mendenhall destroys the stereotype of a pro football player.

The Arizona running back writes poetry, studies all things spiritual and occasionally posts a blog on The Huffington Post.

Football is his job, and he says he is dedicated to it, but it does not define who he is.

Mendenhall has said his creativity off the field helps him on it, and when it comes to the running game, the Cardinals can use a fresh approach after a miserable 2012 season.

New coach Bruce Arians knows Mendenhall well from their days together in Pittsburgh and they bring a mutual respect to their new team.

An avid reader, Mendenhall estimates he reads 15 to 20 books a year.

Currently, he's reading ``I Remember Union: The Story of Mary Magdalena,'' written by Flo Aeveia Magdalena, described by Amazon.com as ``a respected visionary, healer, teacher, channel and writer.''

``I'm really into literature and reading, just that peaceful time, quiet time away from things,'' Mendenhall said, ``whether I'm writing or reading a story, learning something, kind of growing in that way.''

After a standout career at Illinois, Mendenhall was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 2008 draft, the 23rd selection overall. Arians was Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator and over the next few seasons, the two hit it off.

``Once you got to know him, you knew he was a thinking man, that he had ideas and wasn't afraid to show them, or share them,'' Arians said. ``That's one of the things I liked about him.''

Mendenhall grew to appreciate Arians as a person, as well as a coach.

``He's a very real person, very fair, straight up,'' Mendenhall said. ``He lets you know exactly what it is, you know what I'm saying? As a player, everybody respects that. Everybody's always respected him. I've always had nothing but respect for him.''

He said that in their time together, Arians ``was able to see who I am personally.''

``I came to work every day, did everything I was asked to do,'' Mendenhall said. ``At the same time, I did dancing in Pittsburgh, poetry, all kind of things. He was able to see that and see the way that I worked, the way I approached my business, but also the interests that I have, and I kind of hold true to those as well.''

Mendenhall's unconventional thinking got him in trouble in 2011 with his tweets following the death of Osama bin Laden.

``What kind of person celebrates death?'' he wrote then. ``It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never heard speak. We've only heard one side.''

He also appeared to question whether two passenger jets could have taken down the World Trade Center towers.

Later, in a Huffington Post blog, he said he wasn't condoning the ``evil acts'' of bin Laden and apologized to anyone he had ``unintentionally harmed.''

His comments, he said, had to do with ``religion, morality and human ethics.''

Mendenhall doesn't want to revisit the past, opting to focus on looking forward, both professionally and personally.

After topping 1,000 yards rushing in both 2009 and 2010, he was limited to just six games due to injuries last season.

He comes to Arizona with full knowledge of Arians' offense and with a desire to show he can still play the game at a high level. The Cardinals had the worst ground game and the worst overall offense in the NFL last season.

New quarterback Carson Palmer doesn't know much about Mendenhall's off-field interests.

``I had no idea he is into poetry, to be honest,'' Palmer said. ``I'm personally not into a lot of poetry, but I like Rashard a lot.''

Palmer is more concerned with what happens when Mendenhall is handed the ball, or has to pick up the blitz, or catch a pass out of the backfield.

``Everybody's got their own interests off the field,'' Palmer said, ``but that locker room is full of guys that love to play, and Rashard's one of those guys who loves playing football, loves talking football, very smart, very experienced in this system.''

As for poetry and the other stuff.

``Everybody's got different backgrounds, different hobbies,'' Palmer said. ``To each his own.''

---

Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group