He hinted at it a couple of weeks ago, saying that he had reached the end of a journey and was at peace with it, but it is not being reported by national media. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday evening that, according to sources, NFL teams have been told that Arizona Cardinals running back, soon to be a free agent, is retiring from football.
Mendenhall rushed for 687 yards and eight touchdowns in 2013 for Arizona, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. While he played in 15 games, he was hampered by a toe injury and knee soreness that was related to his surgically repaired knee.
He signed a one-year, $2.5 million free agent contract last offseason after playing in six games in 2012 for Pittsburgh, after coming back from ACL surgery at the end of the 2011 season.
He twice rushed for over 1000 yards in his career. He finishes his career with over 4200 rushing yards and 39 total touchdowns.
While he is reportedly retiring, there was plenty of sentiment that he would not be returning to the Cardinals in 2014.
The roster currently will be filled at running back with second year players Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor, Ryan Williams and Robert Hughes, a third year player with a total of six games experience for the Colts in 2012 and 2013. He ended the season on the Cardinals practice squad. Alfonso Smith will be a restricted free agent if he is tendered a qualifying offer by the team.
With Mendenhall not returning, it cements the idea of Andre Ellington being the number one guy. While he is no doubt the starter right now, there is still a void of an established veteran presence in the locker room. While many believe that Arizona will not be in play for such backs as Ben Tate, Maurice Jones-Drew, Toby Gerhart or Darren Sproles, it should not be a surprise if the team targets some veteran at the position, whether or not it is a guy that gets significant carries offensively.