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NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Waiving Chris Rainey Still May Not Help Rashard Mendenhall

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Chris Rainey was waived after being arrested and charged for domestic battery. Rainey allegedly slapped his girlfriend in the face during an altercation over a cell phone.

The departure of Rainey could possibly give running back Rashard Mendenhall a chance of re-signing with the Steelers. The year Mendenhall had was one to forget. Having entered this past summer’s training camp recovering from reconstructive knee surgery, Mendenhall had very few chances to prove that he was worth keeping.

In addition to reconstructive surgery, Mendy suffered from an Achilles injury after making his 2012 debut in Week 5. As a result, Mendenhall only carried the ball 51 times for 182 yards for the season.

The lack of playing time due to injuries could make the Steelers give Mendenhall the benefit of the doubt, and give him another contract. Also knowing that Pittsburgh will be one running back short next season could also give the Steelers’ front office more of a reason to bring back the 2008 first-round pick.

However, all of this could be dwarfed by the actions of Mendenhall in the latter part of the regular season. Leading up to Week 14, Mendenhall was told that he would be inactive. In response to his demotion, Mendy decided not to show up for the home game versus the San Diego Chargers, and was suspended for the next game (which Pittsburgh loss in overtime).

Even though his statistics didn’t reflect it, Mendenhall may want a hefty, long-term deal. I think that the chances of that are pretty slim. Pittsburgh might offer Mendy a contract because of the departure of Rainey, but it probably won’t be what he’s looking for. Therefore, he could end up signing with a team willing to give him a nice contract.

Besides, resigning Mendenhall just might hurt the Steelers’ salary cap. If you ask me, they’re better off drafting a running back and paying him a rookie salary, which would be much cheaper.

Follow me on Twitter @ClydeASpeller