UNITY TWP., Pa. — Mason Rudolph has heard the noise.
The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is well aware that there has been talk about the possibility of him getting traded to another team with it looking more and more like he will not win out over Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett to become Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback.
Trubisky has worked almost exclusively with the first team throughout training camp, and Pickett, the team’s first-round draft pick, has worked in a great role as the third week of camp has gone along. Pickett is expected to run with the second team in the Steelers’ second preseason game on Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Rudolph not being able to beat out Trubisky and Pickett doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t have value around the league. He has been rumored as a potential trade target to several teams, to the point that Steelers general manager Omar Khan had to clarify this week that the Steelers are not looking to trade Rudolph or any of their other quarterbacks.
For his part, Rudolph is attempting to keep his focus on the playing field.
“Those are all scenarios that I have no control over,” Rudolph said. “My focus is on going down and putting the finishing touches on this week today with practice and then tomorrow’s walkthrough and then getting to Jacksonville. So, I have no idea. I’m here, looking forward to practice at 2 p.m.”
Of course, in this day and age, it’s impossible to not hear the rumors of him possibly ending up in a different jersey before the start of the season. He said he’s been trying to stay off social media and away from those rumors.
“It’s easier said than done,” Rudolph said. “But I really don’t read that stuff and my parents and family know not to send me any of the hypothetical stuff that they see from the outside.”
As far as the competition itself, Rudolph admits that he would have liked a greater opportunity to show what he can do with the first team than what he’s had so far.
“Obviously, I would have liked to have had some more first-team reps,” Rudolph said. “I think you guys have seen how practice has gone. But I think I’ve made the most of the reps I have gotten and I thought I’ve performed well, this camp and and want to continue to do so individually, as well as collectively as an offense on Saturday.”
Rudolph hasn’t said much about how he feels about the way this offseason went down, from him at one point being the only quarterback on the roster, to being overlooked in a three-way battle. He said he has taken time to advocate for himself privately, though,
“There’s a balance,” Rudolph said. “There’s times where, in my career looking back over high school, college and and even with the Steelers last few years, you’ve had conversations with people that can make those changes, whether that’s Mike T, or coordinators, but also there’s times where you just kind of say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna do the best with what I’ve got.’ Many times, that’s probably the best. You don’t want to be whining, but you want to voice your opinion that hey, I’m serious about this, I put a lot of work into this, but also, I’m gonna make the best of the guys around me and we’re gonna score points and execute.”
It doesn’t sound like that his risen to the point of requesting a trade to this point, but it’s certainly reasonable to suspect that another team might have a greater use for Rudolph’s services than the Steelers do for this season.