First, Roethlisberger said that during an interview with "Cook and Poni" on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh (a CBS Sports Radio station), Roethlisberger questioned how Rudolph will help the Steelers win now.-- despite the fact that a year ago, and said that it's "prudent and smart" to consider retirement every offseason at this point in his career. Then, on Friday,
"I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team now," Roethlisberger said. "Nothing against Mason. I think he's a great football player. I don't know him personally, but I'm sure he's a great kid. I just don't know how backing up or being the third -- who knows where he's going to fall on the depth chart -- helps us win now. But that's not my decision to make. That's on the coaches and the GM and the owner and those kind of things. If they feel like he can help our team, so be it. But I was a little surprised."
Roethlisberger's not entirely wrong, but he's also not entirely right. He's right that the Steelers, who are in the middle of their Super Bowl window, could've benefited by using a third-round pick on a player who will see the field immediately. But he's wrong about Rudolph's inability to help the team win now. Roethlisberger hasn't played in a full NFL season since 2014. He's missed seven regular-season games dating back to the 2015 season.
Rudolph is by no means a lock to beat out Landry Jones and/or Joshua Dobbs for the backup job, but nobody should rule it out entirely. Maybe Rudolph isn't ready to be Big Ben's backup this year, but he might be ready by next year. In that sense, he can still help the Steelers win a championship during their Super Bowl window. It's simple: Big Ben gets hurt a lot. The Steelers could use a better backup. Rudolph can be that better backup before he inherits the starting job. There's also the added bonus of .
Short-term gains aside, the Steelers can't put off planning for the future forever. The team and organization will go on without Roethlisberger whenever he does retire. Can you blame them for thinking that the end might be coming soon after the way he handled his offseason a year ago? Again, this is a quarterback who sounded like he was on the verge of retirement a year ago.
Roethlisberger said that he notified the Steelers right afterabout his plans to return so that "they wouldn't have to worry about drafting a quarterback." Now, Roethlisberger says he isn't sure if they believed him.
"Once they drafted a quarterback in the third, I wasn't sure if they believed me or not," Roethlisberger said. "But I'm committed to it."
Roethlisberger, however, doesn't appear to be committed to helping Rudolph adjust to and learn the nuances of the NFL. Apparently, Rudolph's comments about learning from under Big Ben didn't sit all too well with him.
"It's not Ben's job to teach me anything," Rudolph had said. "It's my job to learn."
"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," Roethlisberger said before laughing.
Remember when we thoughtby So much for that. The Steelers are making smart and sensible decisions that prioritize their long-term future over Roethlisberger's immediate future and as a result, Roethlisberger appears to be somewhat displeased. Throw in and, well, the Steelers might just be on the verge of replacing the Patriots as .
Finally, the Steelers have found a way to overtake the Patriots in something.