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Mendenhall's injury gives Steelers cold shoulder

Rashard Mendenhall had the look of a pro running back while he was slicing through Big Ten defenses at Illinois.

He looked so good that the Steelers thought highly enough of him to use a first-round pick to draft him.

Then came The Game. That's when Mendenhall talked smack before a Monday night meeting against the Ravens and got smacked down by their defense.

Mendenhall injured his shoulder and didn't play a down after that in the Steelers' Super Bowl season.

Today, just a couple weeks before the start of their title defense, the Steelers are searching for answers about their former No. 1 pick.

It certainly can change, but right now, Mendenhall looks like a player that doesn't want to get hit in that shoulder again.

Call it soft, scared, timid or whatever, Mendenhall looks different.

And that's a shame because Mendenhall was projected as the Steelers' goal-line back, someone able to get the tough yards, absorb contact and give Fast Willie Parker a breather.

I won't go as far as saying he's a bust, but to this point, he belongs in the same mention as Tim Worley, a failed No. 1 pick at running back by the Steelers.

And the comparison doesn't end there. Mendenhall's fumbling problems last season are similar to Worley's.

Hopefully Mendenhall's career doesn't follow that path any longer.


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