(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
In an article by Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, Batko revealed an interesting quote from Mason Rudolph. Being that he's a veteran now, Rudolph was asked if he finds himself trying to take on the responsibility of helping first-round pick Kenny Pickett, as opposed to being … “Being like someone else?” Rudolph said.
Batko said Rudolph didn't directly say Ben Roethlisberger's name, but it sure seems like that's who he was referring to. It's no secret that Rudolph and Roethlisberger really never saw eye-to-eye. Of course, things didn't get off to a good start, as Roethlisberger infamously wasn't happy when the Steelers selected Rudolph in the third round in 2018. Roethlisberger went on 93.7 The Fan and said he was surprised the Steelers went with a quarterback in the third round because they need help to win now.
"I was surprised when they took a quarterback, because I thought that maybe in the third-round, you know, you can get some really good football players that can help this team now," Roethlisberger said on 93.7 The Fan back in 2018. "And nothing against Mason. I think he’s a great football player. I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid.
"I just don’t know how backing up or being the third guy, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart, helps us win now. But, that’s not my decision to make. That’s on the coaches and the GM and owner, and those kinds of things. So, if they feel like he can help our team, so be it, but I was a little surprised."
Fast forward to this past season and it became apparent that Roethlisberger and Rudolph really never had a close relationship. Roethlisberger and Rudolph didn't even communicate with each other when Roethlisberger was out with COVID. Not even a text. Rudolph also didn't publicly congratulate Roethlisberger for a Hall of Fame career when he retired in January, while a majority of current and past Steelers players did.
Pickett revealed at rookie minicamp that Roethlisberger called him and told him if he needs anything don't hesitate to call. And Pickett isn't the only Steelers' quarterback that Roethlisberger has touched base with. At the first day of voluntary OTAs last Tuesday, Mitch Trubisky told reporters that he and his wife, Hillary, were invited to Roethlisberger’s house for dinner a couple weeks ago.
“It was so nice of him to open his house and have dinner with him and just have those conversations and get to know him," Trubisky said. "For him to allow me to get to know him and pick his brain and talk about what it means to be the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it really meant a lot to me.”
It's unfortunate that Rudolph never got the same kind of treatment from Roethlisberger.
After this year's draft, Ryan Tannehill said it's "not his job" to mentor Malik Willis. So, it's not uncommon for players in the NFL to not treat their possible replacement with open arms. It's a highly competitive business and they're all competitors. That seems to be the case with Roethlisberger's relationship with Rudolph. He thought Rudolph was stepping on his toes. Right or wrong, it's often talked about how competitive Roethlisberger is, and it seems like he really never went out of his way to mentor Rudolph.