03/09/2014 05:59 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2014

Rashard Mendenhall To Retire After 6 Seasons In NFL

Free-agent running back Rashard Mendenhall is retiring from the NFL after six seasons. He announced his retirement in a blog post titled "Why I Retired At 26" published on Sunday at The Huffington Post.

"So when they ask me why I want to leave the NFL at the age of 26, I tell them that I've greatly enjoyed my time, 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."

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Saturday night that NFL teams had been told Mendenhall is retiring.

The 23rd overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, Mendenhall spent his first five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He recorded two straight 1,000-yard seasons in 2009 and 2010, but tore his ACL at the end of the 2011 campaign. Following the injury, Mendenhall struggled to stay healthy and was suspended by the Steelers in December 2012 for conduct detrimental to the team.

Mendenhall signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals before the 2013 season, in which he had 217 carries for 687 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

The 26-year-old may have hinted at retirement in a moving blog post titled "The Vision," which he wrote for The Huffington Post in February 2014.



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