5 most underrated Steelers offensive players since 2000
By Scott Long
1. Rashard Mendenhall
Running back has been a very loaded position in Steelers history, with players such as Franco Harris, Jerome Bettis, Rocky Bleier, Le’Veon Bell, and even Willie Parker donning the black and gold. However, one name that rarely gets mentioned is that of Rashard Mendenhall.
Much of the reason Mendenhall’s name rarely gets brought up is that he didn’t quite live up to the hype of the 23rd overall selection the team used on him in the NFL Draft. The other reason is for a key fumble he had in Super Bowl XLV, that led to the Packers’ victory.
However, that doesn’t make his Steelers’ career a bust. In fact, that is why he is underrated, as Mendenhall still rushed for 3,549 yards and 37 touchdowns, while also adding 77 catches for 661 yards and two touchdowns through the air in his five years in Pittsburgh.
Had he stayed healthy, there is a chance Mendenhall would have stayed in Pittsburgh and would have been looked at far differently. After all, he did have two 1,000 yard rushing seasons with the team including a season with 1,273 yards and 13 touchdowns.
According to Pro Football Reference, Mendenhall sits tenth in the Steelers’ all-time rushing leaders, despite an injury-shortened final season with the team. That kind of placement, along with the lack of discussion surrounding Mendenhall makes him extremely underrated.
Each of these players made significant contributions to the Pittsburgh Steelers during their time wearing the black and gold. Without any of these players, the team likely wouldn’t have seen the same success they saw in the last two decades.