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Kevin Colbert expresses confidence in Mason Rudolph

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

If Ben Roethlisberger were to retire or the Steelers would cut him, the Steelers' brass of Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have given the notion that Mason Rudolph would be the next man up. Colbert was asked if he still has confidence in Rudolph when he met with the Pittsburgh media on Wednesday.

"I can go back to 2019 when Mason started eight games he finished with a 5-3 record. The game he started this year, it was probably the best game he's played for us," Colbert said via Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider. "Unfortunately we came up a little bit short but it was very encouraging to see Mason play like he did in a tough situation. Cleveland was desperate to win. It was at their home field. We came within two points of beating them. I think that was encouraging for us. Hopefully we get to see Mason take some more steps in whatever role he has, or whatever playing time he gets, be it preseason or regular season. But it was encouraging to see him in that Cleveland game."

Rudolph was 22 of 39 (56.4%) for 315 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and had a quarterback rating of 89.2 in the Week 17, 24-22, loss to the Browns. Minus the bad interception that Rudolph threw, it was a solid overall performance by the third-year quarterback.

The Steelers signed Dwayne Haskins to a reserve/future contract last month and will compete with Mason Rudolph for the No. 2 quarterback position, or possibly the No. 1 spot depending on what happens with Roethlisberger.

"Since we drafted Ben, we've been fortunate not to be picking very high where those marquee quarterbacks are usually available. We've tried to add players at that position, Colbert said when asked if they will add another quarterback to the room. "When Ben was younger, we always wanted that veteran presence behind him. As he crossed over into that veteran status, we always tried to have a younger player behind him that may be on the rise, a player like a Mason Rudolph or a Joshua Dobbs.

"A player like Dwayne Haskins, a very talented player who was drafted very high by Washington, it didn't work out for him. There were regime changes. He was cut. But it was a no-risk pickup for us. He's a very young, talented player and we'll find out more about him once we get him in here and get him out on the field. Does that mean we can't continue to add to that position? Absolutely not. Nothing we will do in this free agency period will preclude us from continuing to look at that and add a player at that position."

Colbert left the door open to add another quarterback to the group, and that's the prudent thing to do given the uncertainty with Roethlisberger's future. However, with all things considered, I'd imagine the Steelers will go all-in with Rudolph in 2021 and see how it plays out, and then most likely get their quarterback of the future in the 2022 NFL Draft. Haskins is a wild card in the whole situation.

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