Rashard Mendenhall thinks he's still in Steelers' plans

  • By Gregg Rosenthal
  • Updated: Dec. 12, 2012 at 09:01 a.m.

Rashard Mendenhall knew he was going to inactive for the Pittsburgh Steelers' Week 14 game against the San Diego Chargers, so he decided not to show up for the game, according to NFL.com's Aditi Kinkhabwala.

Now he's been suspended for a week, the Steelers announced Tuesday.

With only three weeks left in the season and his contract running out, it wouldn't be surprising if Mendenhall doesn't play for the team ever again. Mendenhall, who felt like the team gave up on him before the suspension, now believes he's still in the team plans.

Kinkhabwala reports, citing a source close to the player, that the suspension led to "a lot of positive conversation" between the Steelers and Mendenhall, and he now believes he will be a factor down the stretch.

"I really believe Rashard is going to come back with great energy and great excitement. He's going to embrace his teammates and his team and he could be a huge part of a playoff run," Mendenhall's agent Mike McCartney told Kinkhabwala.

Mendenhall figures to be one of the more interesting free agent running backs on the market this offseason. McCartney knows as well as anyone that this act of petulance in the middle of a playoff run isn't going to help his client.