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Former Steelers DL Thinks Mason Rudolph Got A Raw Deal



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph

With the news dropping late Sunday night that Russell Wilson agreed to terms with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it pretty much solidified the ending of Mason Rudolph’s tenure in Pittsburgh.

Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported that Rudolph has several clubs interested in him for a primary backup role. In addition, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic noted that Rudolph isn’t interested in returning to the Steelers even though they want have him back. So, yeah, something unforeseen would have to happen for Rudolph to return to the Steelers.

After getting passed on several times, it’s not surprising that Rudolph wouldn’t want to come back to Pittsburgh. Even when Rudolph led the Steelers to the playoffs with three straight wins at the end of the 2023 regular season, he was just labeled as “the hot hand” by Mike Tomlin.

Former Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke thinks the Steelers made a mistake by not giving Rudolph an opportunity to compete with Kenny Pickett for the starting job this summer. He believes Rudolph was on the cusp of something truly special.

“Mason just got the raw end of the stick, Hoke said on 93.7 The Fan. “He came in, what? The last four games of the year and played well. Six touchdowns, five interceptions and an interception. Excuse me. Just really wasn’t given a real opportunity. It just ended a career that I think could have been much different if he had an opportunity to go out and play.”

Rudolph finished with a career-best 74.3% completion percentage and 118 passer rating in the regular season in 2023. His three-game stretch to close 2023 was the best such run for a Steelers quarterback since Ben Roethlisberger’s elbow injury.

Steelers general manager Omar Khan said recently at the 2024 NFL Combine that the Steelers are interested in bringing Rudolph back, but that he expected him to test the free agent market, as he has.

“I’ve been in communication with his representative and he knows we want him back,” Khan said. “We’ve told them we want him to be a part of this process. …

“He knows we want him back, we’ve had conversations. But it’s sort of just how the process goes. I can’t tell when the deal will get done, hopefully with us. But it’s just a process and I understand but we’d like to have him back.”

That was, of course, before the Steelers signed Wilson, a move that could relegate Rudolph to the No. 3 spot on the depth chart once again.