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Mason Rudolph Responds to Fans Chanting His Name: ‘Can’t Get Caught Up in That’



Steelers QB Mason Rudolph
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph warms up before a game against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 3, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Mason Rudolph heard the chants. With Kenny Pickett out, Rudolph became the team’s backup quarterback, and once Mitch Trubisky struggled in Thursday’s loss against the Patriots, Rudolph’s name was chanted by Steelers, hoping to see him guide the offense.

Rudolph hasn’t played in a game since the 2021 season when he started in place of Ben Roethlisberger, who was out with COVID-19 against the Detroit Lions. Rudolph finished that game 30 of 50 for 242 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also appeared in one garbage time appearance that season. But Rudolph, once the villainized player in the fandom, has been on both sides of these chants.

“I’ve been on both sides of that, so, I know it’s cliche, but really all I was trying to do was look at the iPads and help the collective offense,” Rudolph said. “I wanted to help them get ready for the next drive. You really can’t get caught up in that because then you lose focus and it affects your mental state. Obviously, it’s nice to be liked, but we have passionate fans, but you can’t let that enter your mind for a second.”

On Monday, Tomlin said that Mason Rudolph will get more snaps this week in preparaion for the Colts. Trubisky will start, though, and Rudolph is simply preparing with more urgency because he is one snap away from potentially playing against Indianapolis. Still, though, there is no quarterback competition in the week leading up to their matchup against the Colts.

“I don’t know that we’re evaluating practice performance in that way at this time of the year,” Tomlin said. “He’ll have an opportunity to get some work. We’ll evaluate that work and we’ll evaluate his readiness, but we’re not opening up competition and things of that nature. It’s just not an environment for that as we work.”

That being said, there will be a significant opportunity for Rudolph to be more ready to play than he was last Thursday. With the Steelers turning things around on a short week in between Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals when Pickett was injured and Thursday night against the New England Patriots, there was precious little practice time, and practically none for backups. Rudolph is preparing for that possibility.

Steelers QB Mason Rudolph

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph warms up before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 29, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

When asked if he was getting a fair shot, Rudolph opined about how grateful he was to be in the NFL at this point. Now, he is one snap away from playing football and putting his hand in the pile on the field.

“I’m a backup quarterback right now in the NFL and I’m very thankful,” Rudolph said. “You think about all the work it takes for guys in this locker room to get this level and I’m going to be sharp and stay sharp all week. I’ll be ready if and when my number is called, but it’s a day-by-day process. I enjoy that process, preparation, and grind, and I’m looking forward to this afternoon of meetings.”

The Steelers’ third-round pick out of Oklahoma State in 2018, Rudolph has played in 17 games and made 10 starts, with a career completion percentage of 61.5% and an 80.9 passer rating. Rudolph is a different player than Trubisky if they decided to change quarterbacks. They could do it at some point in the game if Trubisky struggles. Rudolph is ready and has taken some inspiration from other backups in the leauge coming in and playing well.