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Three years after ago Rashard Mendenhall did what some people described as tossing away an NFL career and millions per season while at the center of your prime.  However he’s now the executive story editor for HBO’s hit series Ballers.

In 2009, Mendenhall was noted as one of the NFL’s most dangerous combos, rushing for over 1,100 yards and receiving for an average of 10.4 yards per game. After five seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Mendenhall took his talents to Arizona.

So when the completely healthy 26-year-old suddenly retired from pro football, the decision left many confused.  However for Mendenhall, Ballers is a dream job: an outlet for his passion for writing, which originated from when he used to pen raps and ballads for high school friends and short stories in his spare time. The show is centered around an ex-NFL player—played by a charming Dwayne Johnson—who is trying to navigate the life-after-the-League transition. Perfect for Mendenhall.

By 2013, Mendenhall was in Arizona but he has told bleacherreport that, although he was healthy and playing “free and natural,” there was an unexplainable feeling that his NFL chapter was coming to a close. Mendenhall was actually right because in March 2014, he announced his retirement.

Once retired, he wasted no time starting his own blog with the Huffington Post. Within a month, the blog had grabbed the attention of Leverage, the production company behind former HBO successes like Boardwalk Empire. A month later after a sit-down with the ex-back, he joined a team of nearly a dozen writers to create the sports version of Entourage.

For the fourth season of Ballers, Mendenhall will be adding “producer” to his writing duties and wrapping up his first documentary—he’s producing it with his girlfriend, Sandy Romah, through their company, Nappy Rose Productions.

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