Rashard Mendenhall Press Conference
Art Rooney II:Well good afternoon and welcome to the 42nd of Steeler camp at Saint Vincent College. We are looking forward to a great training camp. We are pleased to once again confirm that Rashard (Mendenhall) has signed a five-year contract. We are very happy that he is here on time and ready to go. Rashard, congratulations and welcome aboard.
Rashard Mendenhall:Like he said, I think that it is great to have all of that behind me. I would just like to thank the Rooneys and the Steelers' organization for letting me be here and be focused on just football right now.
How much do you expect to contribute to the offense?
Being picked high, you expect to contribute, but that is what training camp is for, to get in here and learn my role. As training camp goes on you will start to feel what that will be.
How important was getting here on time?
It is definitely real important because you do not want any distractions and you don't want to be a distraction as well. To have that squared away and not have to worry about that, I can just get in here and do what I have to do.
Are you looking forward to putting on the pads and playing some contact football?
I am looking forward to it, all up until getting hit. It feels good to be out here putting on a helmet and some shoulder pads, playing football.
The power aspect, you haven't gotten to show anybody that yet. Are you going to show that?
Yeah, but also all aspects of the game. Being in full pads is not the same as being in shorts. I want to be able to show that I can play and block as well.
How much have you returned kicks and how comfortable are you with that?
I did all through high school and I am real comfortable with doing that. When I got back there at OTAs I felt real confident and comfortable doing it. I think that over time I will start to feel good returning kicks if I do that.
Are you ready for the run test today?
I have been doing a lot of running back home, so I will be ready for it.
How comfortable are you with the offense?
I don't think that it will be too much of a problem. Though it's a huge playbook, we went over a lot of it during OTAs. They install things day-by-day and I have been doing pretty well up to this point. I was pretty confident by middle-to-end of OTAs so I feel pretty good about the playbook.
How do you think playing in the backfield at the same time as Willie Parker could work out?
I think that would work out real well and I think that would be great to be back there with him. He is a Pro Bowl caliber running back who has been nothing but great to me so I look forward to it.
Talk about your relationship with Willie and some of the things that he might pass on to you:
Since I got here, he has been nothing but professional in trying to help me with whatever I needed. He leads and tries to show me things that he thinks that I should know as far as carrying myself as a professional on and off of the field.
Can you talk about your power approach and how you set people up?
To tell you the truth, I wouldn't really consider myself strictly a power runner. The way that I run is all based off of reaction. Whatever I feel right at the time, that is what I do. A lot of times, when you are in a box, all you can really do is go through somebody so depending on the situation you do not want it to be you, so you go right through him.
Can you elaborate a little on that?
Yeah, it is just hard and just a lot of different things. It is all reaction at the end of the day.
Has anybody talked to you about what this whole month is going to be like with the fans and the media?
I hear there is going to be a lot of fans and I am looking forward to it. They say that it is going to be kind of crazy the first couple of days and throughout camp. It is always going to be tough as well, being training camp football 24-7. There is no shade out so that doesn't help anything. This is football and that is what you are here for.
Are you ready for the workload?
Yeah, definitely. I have been training and getting myself ready physically as well as mentally. I just look forward to doing it during camp.
Spend any of that money yet?
Yeah a little bit, but not too much.
How do you think the actual speed of the game will be as to how you perceive the speed of the game to be?
I think that when you jump from college to the NFL and OTAs it picks up, but as well when you pick up pads it picks up again. They say that the preseason picks up and then the season picks up so it's just a steady increase in speed of the game. I feel that you being here, you are just as fast as the game physically, it is just mentally you have to be able to react that fast.
What are your expectations for yourself coming into the season?
For me personally, I plan on having success. I don't know how many yards exactly but my role, whatever it is, I plan on having success in it.