Ben Roethlisberger is ready to mentor Mason Rudolph, an about face considering his astonishment in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting his likely heir in the 2018 NFL Draft.
“I’ve never been the type to just be rude or mean to other quarterbacks,” Roethlisberger said while coming off the field after a full team workout on Tuesday. “I’ve had a lot of quarterbacks through here that have been younger than me that I’ve tried to help. I’ll continue to do that.”
Roethlisberger added that his comments making headlines after the draft were taken out of context. During OTAs on Tuesday, Roethlisberger gave Rudolph tips between drills and said he was impressed with the Oklahoma State product.
“He’s got a big arm. He seems to understand the offense, seems to not have any issues in the huddle, so I thought he did really well,” Roethlisberger said of his first impression of Rudolph.
Roethlisberger previously texted the third-round rookie to offer support before the team’s rookie camp.
“He reached out and said, ‘Hey, good luck in rookie minicamp,’” Rudolph told reporters after his first rookie camp practice. “I was really appreciative of that. I just said, ‘Hey, thanks, look forward to meeting you.’ Wasn’t a whole lot (of conversation), but it meant a lot that he reached out.”
On KDKA-AM radio, Roethlisberger said he was “surprised” the team drafted a quarterback, adding that the move passed up an opportunity to get “football players that can help this team win now.”
“Nothing against Mason, I think he’s a great football player,” Roethlisberger continued in the original comments that drew the ire of many. “...I just don’t know how backing up or being the third guy — who knows where he’s going to be on the depth chart — helps us win now.”
Roethlisberger went on to say in that interview that he “feels bad” for incumbent backups Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs. He mostly dismissed the idea of mentoring Rudolph, saying with a laugh, “I don’t think I’ll need to, now that he said he doesn’t need me. If he asks me a question, I might just have to point to the playbook.”
Rudolph told reporters after he was drafted that it will be his own job to learn rather than relying on Roethlisberger.
During rookie camp, Rudolph shook off any suggestion that the two could have a frosty relationship after Roethlisberger’s radio comments.
“I think the media got it kind of twisted around a little bit,” Rudolph said. “He’s a competitor. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback. He’s a competitive guy. That’s what I would expect. He’s a longtime starter.
“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 and pick up what I can from him but not bother him.”
—Field Level Media