He decided to test the free agent market.
After not having too many prospects, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph decided to return to Pittsburgh.
On Friday night, he put in an impressive performance in their preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Rudolph finished the Steelers’ game, completing seven of his 12 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.
He also ran for 15 yards, including on a third down play to gain a first down. Rudolph’s perfect pass to Calvin Austin III led to a 67-yard touchdown.
Rudolph was once considered the replacement to Ben Roethlisberger when drafted in 2018. instead, he slid down on the depth chart in 2022 with the drafting of starter Kenny Pickett and the free agent signing of Mitch Trubisky. He was inactive during all 17 games a season ago.
He has not been necessarily received well in Pittsburgh; he was booed strongly in the preseason opener a year ago for Pittsburgh against the Seattle Seahawks.
His journey has been long, but he is ready to prepare for what comes next.
“We’re blessed to be here, to be in the NFL. I’m not taking it for granted. I don’t think I ever did. But you go through free agency, and to be able to be a part of this franchise, you really enjoy every moment. The camaraderie with the guys, the informal time in the locker room, it’s priceless. I really enjoy it.”
Rudolph will be battling with Trubisky as the backup this season.
Trubisky played poorly on Friday throwing an interception.
Many of his throws looked off in his limited action. In 2022, Trubisky was the Week 1 starter but was soon replaced by Pickett. Trubisky did come off the bench and led the Steelers to victories against the Buccaneers and Panthers last season.
The importance of a quality quarterback room should not be overstated.
Rudolph knows his role and his happy for the opportunity.
“It’s too early to tell,” Rudolph said when asked to compare the 2023 Steelers with past teams he has been on. “I think we’ve got a great roster. The front office has done a great job compiling a group of guys that are all competitors.”
The Steelers won their preseason opener against the Bucs 27-17.
They play this coming Saturday at home against the Buffalo Bills.
A 2nd straight solid outing for Rudolph could lead to him taking over as the backup to Kenny Pickett.