Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's a Family Affair

Just who is Rashard Mendenhall?

Heading into the 2007 college football season not many could have answered that question -- or would have bothered. However, now that he is a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, well, let's just say a whole lot of people care.

With that in mind we did a little digging and came up with a nice piece by Terry Bannon in the October 17, 2007 edition of the Chicago Tribune that gives us a glimpse into just how central Mr. Mendenhall's family is to him. How central? Well, his mother quit her job and moved from Chicago to Champaign in order "to be near her football-playing sons just as Rashard took over the starting tailback job."

Not "son," "sons". It turns out that Rashard's older brother, Walter, was recruited by a number of schools when he was a high school senior. At the same time Rashard was also being recruited, so what did Mrs. Mendenhall do? "We narrowed it down to three schools, and then I asked the coaches to take them both. It was important to them to be at the same school. They looked at film and offered both of them [scholarships], per my request."

One of those schools was Illinois -- Walter enrolled and promptly redshirted, and Rashard graduated from high school early and joined his older brother.

Their mother (Sibyl) and sister (Vanessa) joined them in Champaign last summer (according to the article Mr. and Mrs. Mendenhall are divorced, and Mr. Mendenhall lives in California).

The guess here is that the Mendenhall clan will be arriving in Pittsburgh, all together, any day now.