According to Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola, the Steelers have decided to suspend their running back:
Steelers suspend Rashard Mendenhall for 1 game. Activate Baron Batch from practice squad.— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) December 11, 2012
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette shed just a little more light on the situation:
#steelers say suspension for one game for conduct detrimental to team. Nor more explanation. Sign Barob Batch from practice squad— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 11, 2012
And added this:
Bouchette (@EdBouchette) December 11, 2012
Mendenhall hasn't always lashed out at his team, but we have found him in the news for things unrelated to football before. With his role currently diminishing in Pittsburgh, it's not hard to believe that he spoke out in some way, shape or form.
It's not like the team is really going to miss his production at this point. Between injuries and healthy scratches, he's only played in four games this season, racking up 113 yards and one receiving touchdown.
Mendenhall's choice shows that he's fed up with his new status, himself, his team or a combination of everything. However, the team's explanation definitely justifies his punishment.
As Jonathan Dwyer continues to prove himself as the Steelers' No. 1, the idea of Mendenhall taking his talents to another city next year seems more and more likely. Injuries have caused his play to suffer, and being disciplined for his behavior doesn't make him look any more appealing to Pittsburgh's front office.
Baron Batch's activation shouldn't have a huge impact, but he does add another dimension to the backfield. The 24-year-old back has 49 yards and one touchdown this season, and he is faster than either Dwyer or Isaac Redman.
Mendenhall's fall from grace this season has been unfortunate, and this is just one more step backward for the former 1,000-yard rusher.