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#pounditWednesday, October 5, 2022

Ex-Steelers star still salty about infamous old play from Super Bowl

Rashard Mendenhall smiling

Apr 12, 2014; Champaign, IL, USA; Former Illinois Fighting Illini player Rashard Mendenhall looks on during the third quarter of the spring game at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

One former NFL player is getting worked up again over something that happened back when Peyton Manning was still in Indianapolis.

Retired ex-Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall tweeted on Sunday about his notorious game-changing fumble against the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV.

“I never fumbled that ball… #SBXLV,” he wrote. “My coaches would feel like a–holes to say that I did, I never did” (profanity edited by LBS).

“I was SEPARATED from the ball, 4 yards into the backfield,” Mendenhall added. “That’s the RB equivalent of a strip-sack. There’s NOTHING I could’ve done about it. Respect my career. #Free34”

Mendenhall, who wore No. 34 in his NFL career, celebrated his birthday on Sunday. Otherwise though, the tweet seemed to be totally unprompted.

The fumble in question took place over 11 years ago. Mendenhall lost the ball on the opening play of the fourth quarter when it was jarred loose on a combined hit by Clay Matthews and Ryan Pickett. The Steelers had scored 14 unanswered points at the time to make it a 21-17 game, and they were inside Green Bay territory threatening to take the lead. But the fumble shifted the momentum, and the Packers held on to win 31-25.

Mendenhall was an up-and-coming star at the time and had just posted two straight seasons of 1,000 yards rushing, including a top-ten season ever for a Steelers running back with 1,273 yards in 2010. He would also produce a solid 928 rushing yards and nine touchdowns the year after the fumble. But Mendenhall only lasted one more season with the Steelers beyond that and retired from the NFL altogether in 2014 at just 26 years old.

Now 35, Mendenhall did manage to get a ring with Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLIII (the year before his fumble). But he clearly thinks that play unfairly changed the course of his NFL career (even if there were some other big reasons why Mendenhall flamed out).

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