Rashard Mendenhall loves the game of football, but after six years in the NFL, the 26-year-old running back is ready to retire.
Mendenhall, who penned a piece titled “Why I Retired at 26“ for Huffington Post on Sunday evening, originally planned to not publicly announce his retirement.
“The fact that I was done playing would’ve been clear once some time had passed, and I hadn’t signed back with the Cardinals or any other team,” Mendenhall wrote. “Either way, I was OK with the idea of fading to black, and my legacy becoming ‘What ever happened to that dude Rashard Mendenhall? He was pretty good for a few years, then he just vanished.’”
After those around him showed shock at his decision to walk away from millions of dollars at such a young age, he decided to write the piece, one of five that he has written for the site.
Despite his appreciation for the game, Mendenhall said the business of football was difficult for him to understand. He wrote of his admiration toward the athletes that he grew up watching — those who worked together with their teammates to win and gave the ball to a ref after a touchdown — as opposed to the ones he sees today who wind up on “Dancing With the Stars.”
“I’ve always been professional,” Mendenhall wrote. “But I am not an entertainer. I never have been. Playing that role has never been easy for me. The box deemed professional athletes is a very small box. My wings spread a lot further than the acceptable athletic stereotypes and conformity was never a strong point of mine.”
Overall, Mendenhall, who has suffered a shoulder injury, a torn ACL and turf toe during his five years with the Steelers and one season with the Cardinals, wrote that he does not want to put his body at risk for entertainment.
“As for the question of what will I do now, with an entire life in front of me?” Mendenhall wrote. “I say to that, I will LIVE! I plan to live in a way that I never have before, and that is freely, able to fully be me, without the expectation of representing any league, club, shield or city.”
– William Clay Ford Sr., who owned the Lions and was the last surviving grandchild of car-maker Henry Ford, died Sunday at the age of 88.
According to a statement by Ford Motor Co., the man many referred to as Mr. Ford passed away in his home in Grosse Pointe, Mich., from pneumonia. Ford purchased the Lions a half-century ago and spent more than 50 years working for his family’s company.
“My father was a great business leader and humanitarian who dedicated his life to the company and the community,” said William Clay Ford Jr., who is the executive chairman of Ford Motor Co. and Detroit’s vice chairman, in a statement. “He also was a wonderful family man, a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.”
Ford, who purchased the Lions in 1964, owned the team during a span of time where the Lions won 310 games, lost 441 and tied 13 — the worst record among teams that were in existence in 1964, according to STATS LLC. While many fans of the team saw him as an owner who struggled to create a successful franchise despite his passion for winning, close family and friends knew him as a humble man with impressive stories.
“Detroit is a football town with fans who want to win — bad — but what they miss is Mr. Ford wanted to win more than any of the fans did,’ said former Lions general manager Matt Millen. “For a variety of reasons, it didn’t work out. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to. He was willing to try anything and he did.
“I wish people knew the Mr. Ford that I knew. He was a very, very fascinating guy who played golf with President [Dwight] Eisenhower, ran with the Rat Pack, talked to President [John] Kennedy on the phone. As a kid who grew up sitting at the foot of a grandpa who invented everything, talking to him was a history lesson and I absolutely loved it every time.”
– Defensive end Everson Griffen has re-signed with the Vikings to a five-year contract worth $42.5 million. According to ESPN.com, that deal includes at least $20 million in guaranteed money.
Griffen, who has yet to have a breakout season, helped Minnesota to grab its first win of 2013 when he sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during Week 4. The play resulted in a fumble that put an end to Pittsburgh’s attempt to tie the game.
– Sam Shields, who would have been one of the top free agent cornerbacks in the market this offseason, has re-signed with the Packers.
Drew Rosenhaus, Shield’s agent, confirmed the four-year, $39 million deal Sunday, and Shields tweeted about the contract Saturday evening.
Shields, who had 61 tackles with four interceptions and 16 passes defended in 2013, was not drafted when he came out of Miami in 2010.
– Veteran guard Davin Joseph and the Buccaneers have parted ways after eight seasons.
Joseph, who struggled during the 2013 season after a major knee injury in 2012, was set to earn $6 million this year.
Tampa Bay’s new general manager Jason Licht released a statement saying that the decision to release the two-time Pro Bowler was a challenge, but that every move made by the team leading up to the free agency signing period is made with “the intention of improving our roster and building towards becoming a championship team.”