It’s been a whirlwind for the quarterback position for the Pittsburgh Steelers over the course of the past seven days. From the Joshua Dobbs trade to Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury, basically, it can be best summed up this way: Devlin Hodges went from being unemployed to being the backup quarterback.
The rookie undrafted free agent out of Samford, unless something changes significantly, is going to enter Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers dressing for the contest, and being one snap away from playing, with Mason Rudolph under center.
Originally an invitee to rookie minicamp, Hodges was signed after the fact with the Steelers determining that he had outperformed Brogan Roback, who they had previously signed to serve as the fourth quarterback on the offseason roster.
It goes without saying that he turned out to be much more than that, which is why he’s still here. In a parallel situation, for example, Roback wouldn’t be on the roster right now. Brendan Kay wouldn’t be here. Pretty much no other fourth quarterback would be. And for the record, Landry Jones’ contract with the XFL does not allow him to sign with an NFL team the way AAF contracts did.
But Hodges told reporters yesterday that it didn’t take Roethlisberger long before accepting him. While the veteran drew fire last year after the drafting of Rudolph because he seemed to be against it and even joked that he wouldn’t help him, all of the young quarterbacks have spoken to the same effect.
“It sucks. I mean, it’s terrible. It’s definitely not the way that you want to go out”, Hodges told reporters in the locker room yesterday. “You never want to see anybody have a season-ending injury. Ben, he’s always been super nice to me, a great guy to me. Kind of taken me in ever since I’ve been here”.
While he has earned that sort of acknowledgement not just through his hard work but also the performances that he has consistently delivered since rookie minicamp—which is the reason that they signed him in the first place—it’s also the team embracing him and giving him the opportunities that they have that have allowed them to share this relationship together.
Roethlisberger wasn’t always a great teammate, something he’s readily acknowledged in the past. He never had to be the ‘veteran’ guy for a long time. He always had guys like Charlie Batch behind him in the quarterback room.
The role he’s in now with young guys like Rudolph and Hodges, and previously Dobbs, has been a new experience, but he seems to have embraced it, and even though he’s on the sideline now, he’ll continue to be an asset to those suiting up on Sunday and assisting them in any way he can.