Sport

Mason Rudolph disappointed in demotion, had hoped for more first-team reps

The Steelers’ first depth chart of the week listed Mason Rudolph as the backup to Mitch Trubisky. He’s not. Coach Mike Tomlin explained it as a “clerical error,” but whatever the reason, Kenny Pickett now is No. 2 on the corrected depth chart.

Rudolph remains in Pittsburgh as the No. 3 quarterback and, on Sunday, won’t dress for a game for the first time since his rookie season of 2018.

Rudolph admitted his disappointment in an interview with Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Wednesday.

“I’m a competitor,” Rudolph told Dulac. “Anyone who wants to compete wants to be the guy on the field, but those are things I can’t control. I’m going to have a good positive mindset, do what I can to help us win.”

The Steelers began their offseason program with Mason and Trubisky competing for the starting job. They ended the preseason with Trubisky and the rookie Pickett competing for the job.

The three quarterbacks combined for a 113.1 passer rating, seven touchdowns and no interceptions in the three preseason games. Rudolph went 26-of-39 for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while playing mostly with players no longer on the team.

Dulac asked Rudolph if he got a fair shot to win the job.

“I think it’s kind of in the rearview mirror now,” Rudolph said. “I would’ve liked to have had more first-team reps, but decisions are made. I’m moving forward.

“Listen, I’m a much better player than I was Year 1 to Year 5. I’m confident in myself and happy with myself when I did get the reps. I’m going to do whatever I’m asked to do. Other than that, I guess I’ll just kind of hold the clipboard.”

Rudolph will make $4.04 million this season and is scheduled to become a free agent in the offseason. He and his agent, Tim Younger, have not asked the Steelers for a trade, according to Dulac, and the Steelers want to keep Rudolph as insurance.

Rudolph, though, wants a chance to play.

“I thought I played well,” Rudolph said. “I think I’m going to have a chance to play in this league as a quarterback for a long time. I’m confident in that. I wanted more first-team reps, but anyone who is a competitor would.

“I think I got much better from last year throwing the ball, understanding [Matt Canada’s] offense where you feel the most ready you’ve ever been. You feel like, hey, I should have more reps, but that’s not the hand I’ve been dealt.”