Rashard Mendenhall's difficult 2012 season has hit another speed bump.
Mendenhall has been inactive for the past two games after fumbling in a 20-14 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 25. He was third on the depth chart behind Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman when the Steelers released its updated chart on Tuesday.
Mendenhall learned he would not be active and then chose not to ride any of the team's buses to Heinz Field, according to Kinkhabwala. The 25-year-old is in his contract year, and a person close to the player said Mendenhall's feeling was the Steelers had given up on him. He learned of his demotion from starter to third on the depth chart the previous week by reading it on the internet, according to Kinkhabwala.
Mendenhall has struggled staying healthy over the last 11 months. He tore the ACL in his right knee in the 2011 regular-season finale and returned on Oct. 4 against the Philadelphia Eagles, accounting for 101 yards and a touchdown in a 16-14 victory. Mendenhall strained his right Achilles the following week against the Tennessee Titans and never regained a firm hold on the starting job.
Mendenhall is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the season, and this appears to be a clear sign the former first-round pick won't be back with the team in 2013.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.