Update 7/3/2015 11:30 AM
According to Pro Football Talk, Rashard Mendenhall's anecdote about Roethlisberger stick a rookie with a $25,000 tab was inaccurate. Sources present at the dinner agreed that Offensive lineman Tony Hills would pay the tab for dinner, which was at a steakhouse, not a club. Hills could not pay the tab, and Roethlisberger ended up paying half of it. Per sources, Hills paid Roethisberger back later.
When the name Rashard Mendenhall gets brought up around Pittsburgh Steelers fans, it can stir up emotion. Most will remember his fumble in Super Bowl 45 against the Green Bay Packers, others will remember his broken scapula at the hands of Ray Lewis as a rookie, the Osama Bin Laden tweets which caught the medias attention and others might just talk about how he "danced around at the line of scrimmage" too much.
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Needless to say, Mendenhall recently retired from the NFL and is now pursuing a life as a writer, and his first job was writing for the new HBO series 'Ballers'. During an interview with Men's Journal, Mendenhall talked about NFL life, expectations for his new journey through writing and even parties thrown by none other than current Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger.
So, it seems the rookie was hit with the tab, but it was not necessarily Roethlisberger's doing, and the QB provided an on-the-spot loan to the player tasked with paying the bill.
Mendenhall spoke about feeling silenced by the conservative brand which is the Pittsburgh Steelers football team.
Once, the Steelers wanted him to answer several personal questions for a video feature. When they asked for a favorite book, Mendenhall offered The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Eyebrows raised. "They were like, 'Yeah, we can't put that. Do you have another one?' " Mendenhall says. "I could have said Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy, and it would have been acceptable. But I'm like, 'You walked up to me, asked me my favorite book, and it wasn't OK?' "
On top of the stifling requirements of life in the NFL, Mendenhall never understood some of the traditions or requirements of players. One of those would be parties the rookies are told to host at the beginning of every season.
Of course, Mendenhall admits, there were parties. The wildest were the ones rookies are expected to throw at the start of each season. Mendenhall recalls a young offensive lineman making the mistake of giving his credit card to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "Ben just did the whole thing," Mendenhall says. "One night — the rookie ended up with a $25,000 bill from the club."
Life in the NFL can be a difficult profession, one which a player can feel as if they are just a cog in the ultimate wheel which is the NFL. Mendenhall saw this in his rookie season in Pittsburgh when veteran running back Willie Parker was lost for the season due to injury.
But he learned early on that football is a fickle profession. His first start as a rookie came after the team's running back, Willie Parker, suffered a season-ending knee injury. "Fans were like, 'We can't wait to see you start. You're better than Willie Parker," Mendenhall says. "I haven't put on a helmet. This guy's a two-time Pro Bowler, and you're already giving me the world? I saw that, and I knew it was gonna happen to me, too."
Now, that life is in the past for Mendenhall as he now turns his attention to his next venture, and one which doesn't involve eluding inside linebackers who are trying to decapitate him at every chance. Mendenhall has seemingly removed himself not only from football, but also the football life as a whole.
One weekend afternoon last fall, Mendenhall got stuck in traffic in Chicago and couldn't figure out why the streets were so crowded. Then he noticed a sea of Bears jerseys. It was Sunday. A hundred men would be gathering in a nearby stadium to play a football game for millions of viewers. "Not for a second did I feel like I wanted to be back out there," Mendenhall says. "I already lived that. It was complete for me. The tough part is trying to wrap my head around where I'm at now."
Where Mendenhall is now might still be up for debate, but the former NFL running back seems to be at peace with his new life, and that is something no one can deny as an enviable trait - regardless of your favorite team.