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Ex-NFL GM Reveals Interesting Kevin Colbert-Mason Rudolph Story



Steelers QB Mason Rudolph

Former Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert stated immediately after the 2018 NFL Draft that he had a first round grade on quarterback Mason Rudolph, even though the team selected Rudolph in the third round. Colbert often repeated that statement, too.

The “first round grade” label didn’t age well, as Rudolph failed to display stellar play until late in his sixth year with the team. Outside of the three-game stretch to wrap up the 2023 season, Rudolph’s tenure in Pittsburgh was considered a disappointment.

Longtime executive Randy Mueller, who was with the Los Angeles Chargers at the time, hinted that Rudolph’s remarkable performance against Pitt at Heinz Field in 2017 could have played a factor into why Colbert drafted Rudolph and was so high on him.

Rudolph threw for 497 passing yards and five touchdowns, with one interception and a quarterback rating 97.5 in a 59-21 victory over Pitt on Sept. 16, 2017. Mueller sat right next to Colbert on that afternoon.

“To my left, the whole day, we had lunch together, and we’ve been buddies for years, was Kevin Colbert. That day, Mason Rudolph put on a show that I thought I was watching Warren Moon dropping bombs down smokestacks. He had 300 yards at halftime. This kid was incredible, and just in our discussions during the day, Kevin Colbert, GM of the Steelers, at the end of the day I remember getting on the airplane that night thinking, ‘I wonder if the Steelers will be on this guy?’ At the time, they were looking,” Mueller recalled on The Athletic’s podcast The Football GM.

Steelers Quarterback Mason Rudolph

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

James Washington, who the Steelers drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, also had a banner day against Pitt for Oklahoma State, recording five receptions for 124 yards. Rudolph and Washington never reached those kind of heights with the Steelers, but they clearly left an impact on Colbert that day.

Rudolph spent six seasons in Pittsburgh, playing in 21 games and making 13 starts. In six seasons with Pittsburgh, Rudolph completed 63.5% of his passes for 3,085 yards, 19 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, and a quarterback rating of 86.9.

For the first time since a one-year, $3.62 million contract with the Tennessee Titans in March, Rudolph spoke to the Tennessee media at OTAs about his late-season surge last season with the Steelers.

“Got an opportunity to play and loved it. Had a lot of fun. I’ve got a lot of great relationships with the guys in Pittsburgh and we were able to clinch a playoff berth. Didn’t get it done, didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked in the Wild Card game but I was happy with the way I played, the way we played. “I felt like we kind of fed off each other there at the end. I’m excited to be here now with this group,” Rudolph said, via Buck Reising of A to Z Sports.

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Tommy downs
Tommy downs
June 3, 2024 9:09 am

Rudolph. If anything,was always a good teammate. Even after,m.garrett,tried too slander his name,he held his head up.good luck too this guy.

Willie Tasby
Willie Tasby
June 5, 2024 5:58 pm
Reply to  Tommy downs

Miles Garrett will never live down his actions that day when he tried to kill another human being. He then lied to try to justify his actions by playing the race card. No players on Browns or Steelers backed up Garrett.