Mason Rudolph will not apologize for landing with the Steelers.
One week after veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger questioned why Pittsburgh used a third-round pick on the rookie quarterback, Rudolph shrugged off the notion that he’s under pressure to show he belongs.
“I don’t feel I need to prove anything to anyone other than the coaches,” Rudolph told reporters Friday, per NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Roethlisberger turned heads when he flamed the Rudolph selection, saying “maybe in the third round, you know, you can get some really good football players that can help this team win now.”
Big Ben refused to go full villain, though, with Rudolph revealing he received a text on Thursday from the longtime starter wishing him good luck at this week’s rookie minicamp.
“I think the media twisted it around a little bit,” Rudolph went on to say about Roethlisberger’s comments, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “He’s a competitor, he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s a competitive guy and that’s what I expect. … I’m sure when we get in this building — in this room — we’re going to be friends and I’m going to let him do his thing. I’m going to try to pick up what I can from him but not bother him.”
Rookie wideout James Washington, Pittsburgh’s second-round selection, played with Rudolph at Oklahoma State and believes the doubters will “probably only make him hungrier,” calling the 6-foot-5 passer “a strong-minded guy.”
Roethlisberger might not appreciate the team adding a young signal-caller to the mix, but what can he expect after hinting about his retirement last offseason?
Big Ben has quieted on that front — claiming he wants to play for another handful of seasons — but nothing should stop the Steelers from future-planning at the most important position in sports.