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Mason Rudolph Ready for Starting Opportunity

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Ever since the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the former Oklahoma State star has had to wonder when his time would come.

Considered one of the top quarterback prospects in that deep draft class, Rudolph made a precipitous slide down the draft board before the Steelers called his name early on the third day.

The only problem with that arrangement was the presence of All-Pro quarterback Ben Roethlisberger cemented at the top of the Pittsburgh depth chart. While Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen were all selected before Rudolph in the draft. All of those guys saw a significant amount of playing time in their rookie years. Rudolph wasn’t necessarily thrilled with the thought of that.

“You want to play, you’re pissed (in that moment),” Rudolph said.

When Roethlisberger signed a three-year contract extension this summer, it looked like Rudolph might be relegated to permanent purgatory.

But the NFL has certainly lived up to its nickname — Not For Long — in the 2019 season. Rudolph has gone from third in the pecking order this spring to the full-time starter after Roethlisberger’s season was ended with an elbow injury that will require surgery.

With Roethlisberger out indefinitely, Rudolph’s game will really be tested throughout the remainder of the season.

“I am completely confident in myself, being a leader of a team, and playing games,” Rudolph said. “That’s what it all comes down to. If (Roethlisberger is out), I’m ready to roll.”

Rudolph started the second half of Sunday’s game against Seattle. He threw for 112 yards and two passing touchdowns on 12-of-19 passing and his one interception was caused by wide receiver Donte Moncrief’s dropped pass.

Rudolph talked Monday on what will be different with how he prepares for this Sunday, knowing he will be the main guy.

“Nothing different from me, I’m just going to be the same person I am,” he said. “Continue to prepare … I try to prepare like I am a starter even when I’m not.”

Rudolph knows what the opportunity entails and the expectations that will come along with that.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m going to do what I’ve always done and step up to the plate.”

Roethlisberger won’t be taking any more snaps this year. But Rudolph knows that Roethlisberger’s expertise will still play a major role in how the team and Rudolph will be able to grow this season.

“Our relationship definitely seems to have grown this year,” said Rudolph “He’s been great with kind of opening up to myself, and the rest of the guys in the room … I’m going to continue to lean on him and meet with him as much as I can during the week.”

Rudolph will get his first start in the NFL Sunday in San Francisco, on the road against the 2-0 49ers.

“I’m getting to play football and fulfill dream,” he said. “I’ll hopefully be playing this game for a long time and as long as I’m prepared for the opportunity that’s all that matters.”

Steelers

Steelers RB Trey Edmunds Shares Love of Reading with Local Students

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Trey Edmunds has been a lifelong lover of reading, a passion he shared with local students on Tuesday’s celebration of Read Across America Day.

Edmunds joined students at Pittsburgh Faison for a virtual assembly and read New York Times best seller, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada.

“I am blessed and humbled to be amongst you guys today and to represent another part of the community and be able to read to you,” Edmunds told Steelers.com. “I am so happy to be here today. What I do want to say is I was in some of the same positions as you guys. I grew up listening to people come back and read to me. Some of those same people I have been in contact with many years later. Some of those same things they have read to me, I have had the privilege of reading to some of the people I mentor, some of the young people in my life, whether it’s cousins, nephews. I am extremely happy today.”

Edmunds also surprised the student with a copy of his own book My Brother’s Keeper – What This Means to Me…, written alongside with his brothers Terrell and Tremaine. Terrell is a safety for Pittsburgh, while Tremaine is a standout linebacker for the Buffalo Bills.

Edmunds’ love of reading came from his mother Felicia, who as an educator, always championed the important of the skill.

“My mother is an elementary school teacher, so she had me doing all of that stuff when I was in high school, college, as a matter of fact I have to go to her school to read for the month of March,” he told Steelers.com. “It keeps me on my toes, attentive. I am a big reader myself, so when I get the opportunity to read to kids, I like that type of interaction.”

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Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

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Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

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Steelers

Zach Banner Announces Self-imposed Social Media Ban Until he Signs New Deal

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Zach Banner is sending a clear message about his priorities ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Banner, who is a free agent and looking for a new deal with the Steelers, tweeted that he is going to stay off social media until he officially signs on the dotted line.

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault. He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. Banner now hopes to return to Pittsburgh and be the missing piece the Steelers offensive line desperately needs.

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