Updated: Jan 29, 2022
(Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
Following Ben Roethlisberger's official retirement announcement on Thursday, a slew of former teammates and past Steelers publicly congratulated him on a Hall of Fame career. However, one player who did not was Mason Rudolph, who could possibly be Roethlisberger's replacement in 2022.
Rudolph could have very well congratulated Roethlisberger privately, but it's interesting that he didn't make a public statement like other quarterbacks who played with Roethlisberger -- Tommy Maddox, Charlie Batch, Josh Dobbs, Devlin Hodges and Dwayne Haskins.
I mean, even Antonio Brown publicly congratulated Roethlisberger for a legendary career. Likewise for Todd Haley, who Roethlisberger basically pushed out the door following the 2017 season.
It appears that Roethlisberger and Rudolph never saw eye-to-eye. And things didn't get off to a good start when Roethlisberger questioned the Steelers' decision to draft Rudolph in the third round in 2018. About just three months before the draft that year, Roethlisberger contemplated retirement.
"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."
I guess Roethlisberger was territorial about the idea of Rudolph replacing him, and the relationship between the two just never grew. It really came apparent when Roethlisberger was on the reserve/COVID-19 list for the Week 10 game against the Lions this past season, and Rudolph revealed that he didn't communicate with Roethlisberger at any point before the game. Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID the night before, so I can understand that he wasn't feeling well, but he couldn't have least sent a text wishing Rudolph good luck?
Then during the middle of the week, Rudolph said he still hasn't talked with Roethlisberger. That confirmed that the two just don't have a relationship at all.
Paul Zeise of 93.7 The Fan thinks Rudolph doesn't owe Roethlisberger anything.
"The hell with that, Ben was a total douchebag to Mason his entire career, like a petty insecure baby," Zeise tweeted. "Wouldn’t even call him before the Lions game. If I was Mason I’d tweet “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out….”
Longtime Steelers reporter Jim Wexell of SteelCityInsider said Roethlisberger just flat-out disliked Rudolph.
"In my opinion, Rudolph is a great guy who has dealt professionally with Ben Roethlisberger's dislike of him," Wexell wrote. "And that kind of professional mistrust I kind of understand. Not that I condone it. But I understand it, and Mason's dealt with it well."
Well, I guess that explains why Rudolph didn't publicly praise Roethlisberger for his Hall of Fame career ...