Former Super Bowl Champion Rashard Mendenhall Walked Away From Football to Pursue His Dream Job

Rashard Mendenhall had dreams of pursuing a football career. That dream would come true in 2008. Things would get even better for the running back when he was a part of a Super Bowl team in 2009.

Mendenhall was the top rusher for the Pittsburgh Steelers for a few seasons, but his season ended prematurely, and he went to pursue a dream of his.

Rashard Mendenhall’s NFL career

The Steelers drafted Mendenhall with the No. 23 pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Mendenhall was coming off an impressive collegiate career in which he was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in his final season at the University of Illinois.

In his rookie season, Mendenhall only played in four games. He suffered an injury early in the season that forced him to miss the remainder of the 2008 season. Even though he was injured, he was still a part of the Steelers’ team that defeated the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 Super Bowl.

The next season the running back would have a lot of success. He rushed for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2009 season. A big turnaround from his rookie season, and he came back from his injury even better. Mendenhall’s next season was more of the same. He rushed for 1,273 yards with 13 touchdowns. He started to establish himself as the Steelers top running back and one of the top running backs in the league.

Though Mendenhall had success in his early on in his career, he would not be in the NFL for long. In 2013, he joined the Cardinals and played in 15 games rushing for 687 yards and eight touchdowns. After that season, his football career was over.

Life after football for Mendenhall

Mendenhall walked away from football, only playing six seasons. Still in his prime, he decided that football was not for him anymore. Not only did he walk away from the sport, but he also walked away from the money as well.

Now that his football career was over, Mendenhall began to focus on something that he had a passion for that wasn’t football. He would focus on being more behind the scenes instead of having the spotlight in his face.

Becoming a writer

Mendenhall decided that he was going to focus on what he always wanted to do other than football, and that was write. The Illinois native wanted to become a documentary filmmaker. That’s where his passion was. He would go on to establish a production company called Nappy Productions, which made films.

Even before that all happened, Mendenhall was writing a blog for the Huffington Post. His work in the Huffington Post caught the eye of the right people. Some producers took an interest in Mendenhall’s work and wanted him to tag along with a project they had with HBO. The series titled Ballers is about what happens after you leave the NFL and Mendenhall got to be a part of that.

The HBO series debuted in 2015 and ran until 2019. Mendenhall had the opportunity to be the executive story editor for four seasons. This was something that he had dreams of doing ever since he was in high school. Even though he played in the NFL, he was able to fulfill his dream job of being a writer.