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Running Back Rashad Mendenhall Retires…At Age 26. Now works for HBO

9TRAY
9TRAY EverywhereMembers Posts: 6,830 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited June 2015 in From the Cheap Seats
o-RASHARD-MENDENHALL-facebook.jpg



“I no longer wish to put my body at risk for the sake of entertainment.”

Those were the words of now-former NFL running back, Rashard Mendenhall, who recently retired at the age of 26. His reasons for walking away from this “dream job” cite him wanting to live his own life.

Here are Rashard’s own words:
I decided not to hold a press conference because I didn’t want to have to say things that were cliché. I’ve done enough of that since I’ve been playing football.

I actually didn’t really plan on saying anything about my retirement at all. I just kind of wanted to disappear. 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. Maybe people would’ve thought I couldn’t get another job.

Either way, I was okay 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.”

Since retiring Mendenhall, who made more than $13.8 million during his six-year career, joined the Writers Guild of America and worked as a writer on the first season of HBO’s “Ballers,” which aired its series premiere last Sunday.

“Ballers” is about an ex-NFL player who transitions to life as an agent. It stars Dwayne The Rock Johnson, and has been widely compared to the HBO breakout hit, “Entourage.”


Mendenhall continues…

The truth is, I don’t really think my walking away is that big of deal. For me it’s saying, “Football was pretty cool, but I don’t want to play anymore. I want to travel the world and write!” However as I told the people around me that I wasn’t planning on signing again, there was a surprising amount of shock and bewilderment.

“Why would you stop now? You’re only 26 years old! You’re just going to walk away from millions of dollars? Is your knee fully healed? You had a pretty good year last year,” etc. After the initial shock response and realization that I’m not kidding, the question that would continue to arise is: Why?

“Why do you want to stop playing football at 26?”
Honestly, I’ve really enjoyed my time in the NFL and have had tons of fun.

I feel like I’ve done it all. I’ve been to two Super Bowls; made a bunch of money; had a lot of success; traveled all over the country and overseas; met some really cool people; made lasting relationships; had the opportunity to give back to causes close to my heart; and have been able to share my experiences and wisdom with friends, family and people all over the world. Not to mention all the fun I had goofing around at work day after day with my teammates!

I’m thankful that I can walk away at this time and smile over my six years in the NFL, and 17 total seasons of football — dating back to when I started 🤬 -wee ball at Niles West in 1997, when I was 10. These experiences are all a part of me, and will remain in my heart no matter what I do, or where I go.

Along with the joyful experiences I had, came many trials. In my last piece, “The Vision,” I wrote about traversing through dark and dangerous waters, working to attain peace and refuge. That intense journey described my personal life in the NFL. Journeying through those waters symbolized living a private life in the public eye. Imagine having a job where you’re always on duty, and can never fully relax or you just may drown.

Having to fight through waves and currents of praise and criticism, but mostly hate. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been called a ‘dumb 🤬 ’. There is a bold coarseness you receive from non-supporters that seems to only exist on the Internet. However, even if you try to avoid these things completely — because I’ve tried — somehow they still reach you. If not first-hand, then through friends and loved ones who take to heart all that they read and hear. I’m not a terribly sensitive person, so this stuff never really bothered me. That was until I realized that it actually had an impact my career.

Over my career, I would learn that everything people say behind these computer and smartphones actually shape the perception of you — the brand, the athlete and the person. Go figure!
What was more difficult for me to grasp was the way that the business of entertainment had really shifted the game and the sport of football in the NFL. The culture of football now is very different from the one I grew up with.

When I came up, teammates fought together for wins and got respect for the fight. The player who gave the ball to the referee after a touchdown was commended; the one who played through injury was tough; the role of the blocking tight end was acknowledged; running backs who picked up blitzing linebackers showed heart; and the story of the game was told through the tape, and not the stats alone. That was my model of football.

Today, game-day cameras follow the most popular players on teams; guys who dance after touchdowns are extolled on Dancing With the Starters; games are analyzed and brought to fans without any use of coaches tape; practice non-participants are reported throughout the week for predicted fantasy value; and success and failure for skill players is measured solely in stats and fantasy points. This is a very different model of football than the one I grew up with.

My older brother coaches football at the high-school and youth level. One day he called me and said, “These kids don’t want to work hard. All they wanna do is look cool, celebrate after plays, and get more followers on Instagram!” I told him that they might actually have it figured out.

Over my career, because of my interests in dance, art and literature, my very calm demeanor, and my apparent lack of interest in sporting events on my Twitter page, people in the sporting world have sometimes questioned whether or not I love the game of football. I do. I always have. I am an athlete and a competitor.

The only people who question that are the people who do not see how hard I work and how diligently I prepare to be great — week after week, season after season. I take those things very seriously. I’ve always been a professional. But I am not an entertainer. I never have been. Playing that role was never easy for me. The box deemed for 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. My focus has always been on becoming a better me, not a second-rate somebody else. Sometimes I would suffer because of it, but every time I learned a lesson from it. And I’ll carry those lessons with me for the rest of my life.

So when they ask me why I want to leave the NFL at the age of 26, I tell them that I’ve greatly enjoyed my time, but I no longer wish to put my body at risk for the sake of entertainment. I think about the rest of my life and I want to live it with much quality. And physically, I am grateful that I can walk away feeling as good as I did when I stepped into it.

As for the question of what will I do now, with an entire life in front of me? 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.

I do have a plan going forward, but I will admit that I do not know how things will totally shape out. That is the beauty of it! I look forward to chasing my desires and passions without restriction, and to sharing them with anyone who wants to come along with me! And I’ll start with writing!






























http://blackdoctor.org/431518/rashard-mendenhall-retirement/2/
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Comments

  • detcatinva
    detcatinva Members Posts: 11,691 ✭✭✭✭✭
    i'm not mad at him for his decision. very well written article
  • mdot
    mdot Members Posts: 4,368 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I can see how you want to move on. People forget theyve been playing this game their whole life probably tired or over it by now.
  • Elzo69Renaissance
    Elzo69Renaissance Never selling dreams, always serving cream SeattleMembers Posts: 50,708 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That's cool went to school w him and his brother...i actually think his bro lives down the street anyway more power to him
  • Angeles1son85
    Angeles1son85 I'm an animal I shoulda been born in Jumanji Los AngelesMembers Posts: 13,544 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Shoulda just helped a press conference thats alot of talkin lol
  • Focal Point
    Focal Point Kushite descent... wandering child from Meru of Old TrentonMembers Posts: 16,307 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That's dope and wise. He'll be able to be fully active in all that he does and avoid any future negatives that come from playing the game for too long. Much respect... he's the nephew of the Secretary at the school I work at.
  • matt2
    matt2 Members Posts: 430 ✭✭✭✭
    I thought he retired last year
  • damobb2deep
    damobb2deep Members Posts: 19,972 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Call me crazy but I like this trend of 🤬 getting in, getting that money and getting out healthy.

    dude that worked part time at espn who played for the steelers I think or ravens... he did the same 🤬 he full time..
  • playboy buddy rose
    playboy buddy rose Red hook brooklynMembers Posts: 2,844 ✭✭✭✭✭
    i'm glad the brotha had other options outside of football.. alot of people his age in the league don't
  • bow to royalty
    bow to royalty Members Posts: 3,985 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.
  • loch121
    loch121 Members Posts: 12,884 ✭✭✭✭✭
    IDK I get mad when I see ppl throw away opportunities ppl would 🤬 for,but he still making money.
  • loch121
    loch121 Members Posts: 12,884 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.
  • Focal Point
    Focal Point Kushite descent... wandering child from Meru of Old TrentonMembers Posts: 16,307 ✭✭✭✭✭
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    Hell it wasn't too long along ppl were comparing the Caveliers and LeBron's situation as an angry slave master and escaping slave
  • matt2
    matt2 Members Posts: 430 ✭✭✭✭
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You could say that the job market in general fits that description (except that part about physical prowess).
  • bow to royalty
    bow to royalty Members Posts: 3,985 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2015
    matt2 wrote: »
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You could say that the job market in general fits that description (except that part about physical prowess).

    Yup.
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You volunteer for the draft. Often choosing to pass on finishing your free education. And your physical attributes are a large part of you being able to do the job at the required level.

    They're told what to do? That's called a job.

    It's slavery because you make bad financial decisions? There are things in place to educate young players on the dangers of going broke. And they pay you enough to go back and finish your education. Your credits aren't expiring.

    You're rich and famous. You're empowered. You have the ability to go back and better your community. Tons of doors are opened for you.

    Grown men not being responsible doesn't equate to slavery
  • bow to royalty
    bow to royalty Members Posts: 3,985 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2015
    slavery.jpg

    Let Mendenhall tell him about how the ways they're treated mirror each other


    How you gonna be black and downplay slavery that hard?
  • Shizlansky
    Shizlansky Members Posts: 35,095 ✭✭✭✭✭
    loch121 wrote: »
    IDK I get mad when I see ppl throw away opportunities ppl would 🤬 for,but he still making money.

    What the 🤬 are you talking about?
  • Olorun22
    Olorun22 Members Posts: 5,696 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    He's 26 and still can play. I just don't agree that he was good still
  • loch121
    loch121 Members Posts: 12,884 ✭✭✭✭✭
    matt2 wrote: »
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You could say that the job market in general fits that description (except that part about physical prowess).

    Exactly,but in sports is specifically based on physical strength and agility like when they picked bucks in slavery.They literally be on the market in the draft,being chosen for being the biggest or fastest.
  • loch121
    loch121 Members Posts: 12,884 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2015
    Shizlansky wrote: »
    loch121 wrote: »
    IDK I get mad when I see ppl throw away opportunities ppl would 🤬 for,but he still making money.

    What the 🤬 are you talking about?

    What do you mean what am I talking about?It's not really complex.

    I said I get kind of get mad when ppl are nonchalant about things other ppl would give a leg to do.

    There was nothing hard to figure out about what I said.What did you not get?

  • loch121
    loch121 Members Posts: 12,884 ✭✭✭✭✭
    matt2 wrote: »
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You could say that the job market in general fits that description (except that part about physical prowess).

    Yup.
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You volunteer for the draft. Often choosing to pass on finishing your free education. And your physical attributes are a large part of you being able to do the job at the required level.

    They're told what to do? That's called a job.

    It's slavery because you make bad financial decisions? There are things in place to educate young players on the dangers of going broke. And they pay you enough to go back and finish your education. Your credits aren't expiring.

    You're rich and famous. You're empowered. You have the ability to go back and better your community. Tons of doors are opened for you.

    Grown men not being responsible doesn't equate to slavery

    It has nothing to do with them not being responsible.Even if they made it to the highest level there's still the media,the team owners,the lawyers,the management trying to or controlling you.

    fame can be it's own prison in itself.

    And yes a job is a form of slavery.Especially if you do something you don't care about.

    the music game is a slavetrade too,but sports is literally like slavery with the draft or when they pick teams.

  • bow to royalty
    bow to royalty Members Posts: 3,985 ✭✭✭✭✭
    En-Fuego22 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    He's 26 and still can play. I just don't agree that he was good still

    Think you're saying he can still play. I said he could still be in the league, but as a 2nd/3rd string guy. He fell off, and was gonna be done in the league soon anyway.
  • Neophyte Wolfgang
    Neophyte Wolfgang Members Posts: 4,169 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Had friends who went to school with him. Seen him play...never knew how he made it to the nfl he wasn't that good. No speed, average vision not that strong. Plain as milk...but 🤬 good for him
  • bow to royalty
    bow to royalty Members Posts: 3,985 ✭✭✭✭✭
    loch121 wrote: »
    matt2 wrote: »
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You could say that the job market in general fits that description (except that part about physical prowess).

    Yup.
    loch121 wrote: »
    Not a Mendenhall fan. Tweeting defending Bin Laden, and calling the NFL like slavery (I HATE when people compare playing sports to slavery), and sounding like an 🤬 . But ya...Mendenhall probably retired because he fell off, and didn't feel like going from a top RB to a 2nd/3rd string TD Vulture. Good for him that he has options after football...but this isn't like those other guys retiring while they're still young and good.

    the structure of sports is a lot like slavery.The draft is like the slave ports.

    They are picking the biggest black men who show physical prowess

    They are told what to do.

    Yes they get paid,but a large majority go broke...and they don't really care if they get an education.

    You volunteer for the draft. Often choosing to pass on finishing your free education. And your physical attributes are a large part of you being able to do the job at the required level.

    They're told what to do? That's called a job.

    It's slavery because you make bad financial decisions? There are things in place to educate young players on the dangers of going broke. And they pay you enough to go back and finish your education. Your credits aren't expiring.

    You're rich and famous. You're empowered. You have the ability to go back and better your community. Tons of doors are opened for you.

    Grown men not being responsible doesn't equate to slavery

    It has nothing to do with them not being responsible.Even if they made it to the highest level there's still the media,the team owners,the lawyers,the management trying to or controlling you.

    fame can be it's own prison in itself.

    And yes a job is a form of slavery.Especially if you do something you don't care about.

    the music game is a slavetrade too,but sports is literally like slavery with the draft or when they pick teams.

    If they go broke it's on them being irresponsible. There is plenty of info out there, plenty of guys that can go to for money advice, and just plenty of overall help for them to make sure they stay financially set after they retire. If they choose not to get their education to help them after retirement, it's irresponsible on their part (if their post-retirement plans require a degree). I think Fitz was in the league, and workin on his degree.

    They asked for it, and can walk away from it. That's not slavery.

    Football is usually their dream. And if they want out, retire. Again, not slavery.

    The draft isn't like slavery! You apply to go to the draft. You don't have to go in if you don't want to. Contracts are negotiated, and if you don't like it, don't play. Slavery keeps people down, it doesn't build them up. The NFL is NOT LIKE SLAVERY.

    This "well...slaves got told when to go to work..and I get told when to show up for work...so I live the same life as a slave" 🤬 is stupid. Stop downplaying what slavery is/was.