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Steelers Free Agency: Broncos reportedly interested in Rashard Mendenhall

A second AFC team has been linked to running back Rashard Mendenhall in wake of free agency.

Justin Edmonds

Perhaps free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall will avoid getting hit by Ryan Clark in home games.

The Denver Post is linking the Broncos with Mendenhall in wake of the start of free agency at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. Mendenhall was previously associated with Miami, indicating there may be something of a market forming for the Steelers first round pick in 2008.

Mendenhall largely fell out of favor with the Steelers by the end of the 2012 season after spending much of the year inactive. Multiple injuries including the recovery from an ACL tear in 2011 led to a large dropoff in production from Mendenhall, but when healthy, he could be a solid starting or rotational component for a team.

Mendenhall had 2,200 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in 31 games between 2010-11, but was cut down at the end of the 2011 with the torn ACL. Isaac Redman spelled him for the Steelers playoff game at Denver in January, 2011, and rushed for 120 yards in the loss.

Redman and Jonathan Dwyer joined Mendenhall in offensive coordinator Todd Haley's split backfield approach that drew some criticism during the season. The new approach, as well as a similar theme of injured offensive linemen, damaged the Steelers running game for the majority of the season.

Redman and Dwyer were given the right of first refusal and original round (sixth) tenders in restricted free agency - paying them $1.3 million for the 2013 season.