Mason Rudolph is back with the Steelers for his sixth season overall with the team but during the first four seasons of his NFL career, Rudolph was the backup to future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger, but that relationship was not always rosy.
Notoriously, general manager Kevin Colbert came out after the Steelers selected Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft and stated that the team had a first-round grade on Rudolph. However, Rudolph failed to live up to the billing, becoming only a backup quarterback-level player throughout his career.
The Steelers seem fine with that, but that does not mean Roethlisberger was not threatened by Rudolph when he immediately came into the locker room. Joining the Steel Here podcast on Friday, Rudolph detailed his relationship with Roethlisberger behind the scenes and how that went.
“I don’t take it for granted, there’s not many players that can come in and learn from a Hall of Fame quarterback,” Rudolph said. “He was a guy I watched, one of my favorites through college and so being at it for 18 years, he had a mode of operation, his preparation, he sort of prepared independently. I wouldn’t say we were close but he did his job. He had a job to do, he has a team to lead. And I get that. There were plenty of times he would answer questions I had.”
While Rudolph did give back as a veteran and mentored Kenny Pickett, he said that he and Roethlisberger may not be close, but there is no ill will be held towards him. In fact, anything that there might be, Rudolph says is long gone at this point in his career.
“There is no bad blood,” Rudolph said. “We weren’t close, but would you expect a 37 or 38-year-old to be best friends with a 23-year-old?”
It seems that Roethlisberger played mostly hands-off with Rudolph, which has been a prevailing theory for years. However, the emotions between the two are not that of hatred, but rather just distance. Now, Rudolph noted that he and Mitch Trubisky were hands-on with Pickett and helping him right away as a pro. The 2023 quarterback room should be a tight-knit group from the top down.