Leave the audience wanting more remains a basic rule of show business. Like running backs Robert Smith, Barry Sanders, and Jim Brown before him, Rashard Mendenhall retires from football still hearing cheers. But he doesn’t want you to call him an entertainer.
Why leave millions on the table? Mendenhall explains all in his column at the Huffington Post, and the reason involves the Steeler and Cardinal’s love for competition and contempt for show business.
“I’ve greatly enjoyed my time,” Mendenhall explains, “but I no longer wish to put my body at risk for the sake of entertainment. I think about the rest of my life and I want to live it with much quality. And physically, I am grateful that I can walk away feeling as good as I did when I stepped into it.”
Mendenhall crammed two Super Bowl appearances, 37 touchdowns, and 4,236 yards rushing into his six seasons in the NFL. He leaves the game at 26 with a ring and no regrets.
“Over my career, because of my interests in dance, art and literature, my very calm demeanor, and my apparent lack of interest in sporting events on my Twitter page, people in the sporting world have sometimes questioned whether or not I love the game of football,” he explained at the Huffington Post. “I do. I always have. I am an athlete and a competitor. The only people who question that are the people who do not see how hard I work and how diligently I prepare to be great–week after week, season after season. I take those things very seriously. I’ve always been a professional. But I am not an entertainer.”
Whether Mendenhall answers the inevitable curtain calls will determine that.