It's fascinating when a NFL player retires in his prime.
It's hard to imagine, for most of us. To play in the NFL, and make a tremendous living, seems like the pinnacle.
It was, in some ways, for Rashard Mendenhall. The former Steelers and Cardinals running back, who decided to retire after six seasons, said in a piece in the Huffington Post explaining his retirement that he loved playing in the NFL and had "tons of fun." It wasn't a physical issue. He just didn't want to do it anymore, so he walked away at age 26.
— Frank Schwab
Running back Rashard Mendenhall #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini celebrates after scoring the Illini's first touchdown in the third quarter over the USC Trojans in the "Rose Bowl presented by Citi" at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2008 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Running back Rashard Mendenhall #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini runs the ball upfield against the Syracuse Orange on September 16, 2006 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. The Orange beat the Fighting Illini 31-21. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Rashard Mendenhall #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini looks for protection from Jacob Willis #83 and Jon Asamoah #52 as he rushes against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on November 3, 2007 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mendenhall rushed for 206 yards as the (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Rashard Mendenhall poses for a headshot during the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine at the RCA Dome on February 22, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ben Liebenberg/NFL Photos/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp
LATROBE, PA - JULY 29: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers puts his helmet on during training camp on July 29, 2011 at St Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Super Bowl XLV
ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after running for an eight yard touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl XLV Media Availability
FORT WORTH, TX - FEBRUARY 02: Runningback Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with the media on February 2, 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
New England Patriots v Pittsburgh Steelers
PITTSBURGH - NOVEMBER 14: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs by the New England Patriots defense during the game on November 14, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 08: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 8, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Steelers defeated the Bengals 27-21. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 03: Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers dives in for a touchdown past Tom Zibkowski #28 of the Baltimore Ravens during the game on October 3, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17: Running back Rashard Mendenhall #28 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football against the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2013 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)