After a rather strong offseason, training camp and preseason, fifth-year Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph looked like he might bee in line for a significant role in Pittsburgh for the 2022 season.
Instead, he was relegated to No. 3 QB duties, not getting a helmet on game days and very rarely getting reps each week in practice for the black and gold.
As a veteran quarterback with 10 career starts and on a one-year deal before a pivotal foray into free agency at this point in his career, it would have been understandable if Rudolph asked for a trade and tried to force his way out of Pittsburgh. Instead, he put his head down, went about his work each and every day without complaint and now might have a chance to get back onto the field Sunday against the Carolina Panthers with rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett in concussion protocol.
Rudolph and veteran quarterback Mitch Trubisky split first-team reps in practice Wednesday, signaling the opportunity that awaits for Rudolph this week. For team captain and longtime teammate Cameron Heyward, Rudolph is rather deserving of the opportunity, based on the work he’s put in this season and the way he’s carried himself as a teammate and a professional in a tough situation overall.
“I can’t say enough about the way he’s stayed engaged and comes in here and works every day,” Heyward stated to reporters Thursday, according to the Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski.
As QB3 on a roster with two new faces in Pickett and Trubisky, reps are limited each and every day for Rudolph. In fact, they were likely non-existent throughout the season until this week.
Even knowing that, Rudolph has stayed engaged and tried to help out in any way that he can throughout the season, whether that’s from a coaching standpoint as another set of eyes in the quarterbacks room, or doing whatever is asked of him on the scout team overall.
He’s put his head down and just done what’s asked of him, even if he believes he deserved a shot or held some disdain for the way he has been treated throughout his career by the team and the fanbase overall.
For as much as he’s disliked on the field from the fanbase and eve some in the media, it seems like he’s beloved in the room, where it matters the most. That respect goes a long, long way in this industry, and he very clearly has it from the top down on the roster inside the locker room.
Assuming he gets a shot Sunday, let’s see if the way he’s carried himself throughout the season carries over into his performance on the field.