No reason for the suspension was specified in a release issued by the team, but according to Bouchette's Twitter page, Mendenhall responded to the news that he would not be playing in the team's Week 14 game against the San Diego Chargers by not showing up to Heinz Field.
Mendenhall, 25, was selected by the Steelers in the first round (No. 23 overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. In 55 games, including 48 starts, Mendenhall has 3,480 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground with 75 receptions for 660 yards and two touchdowns out of the backfield. Mendenhall eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2009 and 2010 and was within 75 yards of going over 1,000 yards before he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during the 2011 regular season finale.
Mendenhall opened the 2012 season on the physically unable to perform list and has just 34 carries for 113 yards and seven receptions for 61 yards and a touchdown in 75 snaps. Mendenhall was benched for a Dec. 2 win over the Baltimore Ravens and was not going to play in Sunday's 34-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers after fumbling twice in a 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 25.
Mendenhall is earning $700,000 in the fifth and final season of an $11.312 million rookie contract that included $7.125 million in guaranteed money. The one-game suspension would cost Mendenhall a game check worth $41,176.47 in pretax income. Reinstatement is important for Mendenhall, who can earn a $275,000 roster bonus by being on the roster for the last game of the regular season.
To replace Mendenhall on the 53-man roster, the Steelers have elevated second-year running back Baron Batch from the practice squad.