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Steelers Plan to Start Mason Rudolph on Saturday

‘We’ve got a great deal of comfort with him.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Mike Tomlin says, “Rudolph, won’t you guide my offense Saturday night?”

Tomlin, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach, announced Monday that former Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph will start the Steelers’ Week 16 matchup against the Bengals at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. However, regular starter Kenny Pickett could still play if healthy.

“It’s our intention as we sit here today to give Mason Rudolph an opportunity to start,” Tomlin said. “He’s a veteran guy. He’s a backup, but he’s also a veteran guy. He’s been in our program a long time. He’s here for those reasons. We’ve got a great deal of comfort with him.”

The move comes after Pickett was sidelined because of injury the last two weeks and Mitch Trubisky has been lackluster as Pickett’s replacement. Rudolph replaced Trubisky late in the Steelers’ 30-13 loss to the Colts on Saturday. He was 2-of-3 for three yards and was sacked once in two possessions leading the offense.

Rudolph has been with the Steelers since they drafted him in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Most of Rudolph’s experience came in 2019 when he appeared in 10 games and started eight, throwing for 1,765 yards, 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He hasn’t started more than one game in a season since.

Many Steeler fans have clamored for Rudolph to start this season, even when Pickett was healthy, arguing Rudolph was never given a real chance. In his only season with real opportunity, Rudolph became only the third quarterback since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger to record a passer rating of at least 81.4 and throw a touchdown in his first seven career starts. He was also the fifth quarterback since the merger to throw a touchdown in his first eight games.

Rudolph is the winningest quarterback in OSU history at 32-9. He left Stillwater holding the Cowboys’ single-season and career records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and pass efficiency.

Former OSU running back Jaylen Warren has also been getting significant playing time in the Steelers’ backfield.

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