Arizona Cardinals free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall is retiring from football, ESPN reports.
Mendenhall, 26, alluded to the fact that his days of playing in the NFL might be coming to an end in a Feb. 25 column he wrote for the Huffington Post, in which he said, "As I write this, today is the day that the journey is over and I am fully at peace. Eagerly looking to a new way, which lies ahead."
On Sunday his agent Mike McCartney confirmed via Twitter that Mendenhall had decided to end his playing career.
Mendenhall has always run at his own pace. In 2011 he made news off the field after Osama bin Laden's death was reported. In a series of tweets, Mendenhall voiced his skepticism over bin Laden's involvement in the 9/11 attacks and asked that Americans not rush to judgment.
Mendenhall tweeted, "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side … "
Then he retweeted this comment: "I'm not convinced he was even behind the attacks we have really seen no evidence to prove it other than the gov telling us"
Mendenhall followed it up with this: "We'll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style." He later deleted this tweet.
He continued, "I believe in God. I believe we're ALL his children. And I believe HE is the ONE and ONLY judge."
He ended with this: "For those of you who said you want to see Bin Laden burn in hell … I ask how would God feel about your heart?"
ESPN notes that after the end of last season, Mendenhall told his coach that he wanted to write books and do things other than play football. And so, after rushing for 687 yards on 217 carries (both team highs) and scoring eight touchdowns last season, Mendenhall has called it quits.
Mendenhall was drafted 23rd overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2008 draft. In six NFL seasons, Mendenhall rushed for 4,236 yards and scored 39 total touchdowns, ESPN reports.
The running back battled back from several injuries but never fully returned to form. While he scored five touchdowns in his final eight games, he never eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game.
In a recently penned update on why he retired in the prime of his career, Mendenhall writes:
I feel like I've done it all. I've been to two Super Bowls; made a bunch of money; had a lot of success; traveled all over the country and overseas; met some really cool people; made lasting relationships; had the opportunity to give back to causes close to my heart; and have been able to share my experiences and wisdom with friends, family and people all over the world …