Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback Mason Rudolph was relegated to the bench. After a hopeful start to 2022 turned bleak as the year progressed, Rudolph has been on Pittsburgh’s list of inactive players since the start of the season.
Despite the Steelers tugging at his heart, Rudolph was nothing but professional. “I think it’s about how you react to the hand that’s been dealt to you and how you overcome adversity,” Rudolph said of Fan Nation’s All Steelers. “I think I did that well.”
And why should Rudolph present himself in a different light? After all, he’s auditioning for the next phase of his career. How he reacts in the present affects his future.
That future could come sooner rather than later as the San Francisco 49ers lost a quarterback.
The Trey Lance experiment didn’t last long in San Francisco. Late in the first quarter of their September 18 encounter with the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers’ former first-round draft pick was carted off the field. It was later revealed that Lance had sustained two injuries to his right ankle: a broken fibula and a torn ligament. He is out for the remainder of the 2022 season.
Should San Francisco want to add quality behind current starter Jimmy Garoppolo, they should look no further than Pittsburgh and Mason Rudolph.
While it might be considered a knee-jerk reaction from the 49ers to trade a mid-to-late round 2023 draft pick for Rudolph, it might be a smart move. The 49ers may not be very comfortable with Brock Purdy backing a fragile Garoppolo who has only managed one healthy season since San Francisco named him a full-time starter in 2017.
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Mitch Trubisky to begin free agency in March 2022. A month later, the team selected Kenny Pickett with their first pick for the NFL draft. The Pittsburgh veteran’s writing was on the wall, and talk of unloading him immediately circulated.
Nothing alive emerged until mid-August when 93.7 The Fan’s reported Andrew Filiponi that a former NFL general manager said the Detroit Lions were interested in acting for Rudolph.
Shortly thereafter, Steelers general manager Omar Khan refuted all the rumors by issuing a statement. “We really like our room,” Khan said on the All Things Covered podcast. “We have three startable guys in this space between Mitch and Mason and Kenny. We believe we have a bright future in relation to this position, but time will tell. There is still a lot of football.”
The Steelers know all too well how quickly the need for a third quarterback can come into play. In 2019, days before the start of the season, Pittsburgh traded third-place finisher Joshua Dobbs to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But only two quarterbacks in the 53-man roster let them down. When Ben Roethlisberger was placed on injured reserve and Rudolph suffered a concussion against the Baltimore Ravens, they were forced to promote Devlin “Duck” Hodges off the practice team.
In the face of these 2019 nightmares, the Steelers will likely stick with Mason Rudolph — unless they get an offer they can’t refuse.