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Kevin Colbert Gives Vote of Confidence for Mason Rudolph



Mason Rudolph
Ed Thompson, Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers need a quarterback going into the 2022 offseason, following the retirement of longtime starter Ben Roethlisberger, and technically speaking, they need three, as only Mason Rudolph is under contract for the 2022 season.

General manager Kevin Colbert said Monday that one way or another, the team will go into training camp with its usual allotment of four quarterbacks. Whether those other three players are slotted in front of, in competition with or behind Rudolph doesn’t necessarily seem to bother Colbert, who gave Rudolph a vote of confidence on Monday.

“We know we’ve got two veteran players here, both that have started NFL games.” Colbert said. “We have confidence in Mason Rudolph. That’s Coach Tomlin’s decision, but if we started a season today, Mason would be our starter. We’re excited to see where they can go. Mason is 5-4-1 as an NFL starter, albeit in a backup kind of role. We are excited to see what is next for Mason.”

Colbert famously said his staff had a first-round grade on Rudolph when he came out of Oklahoma State in 2018, after the Steelers landed him in the third round. The transition out of Roethlisberger’s shadow has not been a smooth one, though.

Rudolph was thrust into action in 2019 after Roethlisberger’s elbow injury and struggled before suffering a concussion that forced him from the lineup. After returning quickly, Rudolph disappointed and was at one point benched for undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges. 

Since then, Rudolph has not gotten a ton of opportunities, starting a mop-up loss at Cleveland in 2020 and tying Detroit after Roethlisberger contracted COVID last fall, but Colbert is choosing to remain optimistic about Rudolph’s track record, pointing out that he has yet to be given the opportunity of entering a season as a team’s regular starter.

“If we had to start a season right now with Mason as our starter, let’s go,” Colbert said. “We’ll try to build the best team we can around him. That’s just the way it is. Mason is 5-4-1 as a starter. One of those games this year, he found out he was going to be the starter Saturday night. He tried to give us what he could. We almost won that game. … 

I’m comfortable with Mason. He’s won more games than he’s lost as a starter. Where that can go, we’ll see. To be an NFL starter that you can win with, you’ve got to prove it over 16 games, and I’m anxious to see that, if that’s the case.”

Rudolph signed a one-year contract extension for the 2022 season last offseason, putting himself into position to earn the role as Roethlisberger’s successor, but that, of course is not guaranteed.

The Steelers are also expected to retain restricted free agent Dwayne Haskins, and spent most of their time at the 2022 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. earlier this month evaluating the six quarterback prospects in attendance.

The Steelers have been linked to multiple members of the 2022 NFL Draft class in mock drafts, as well as potential free agents or trade acquisitions.