Head coach Mike Tomlin will be speaking to the media in about an hour from the time that this article publishes, and surely we will receive some further clarification then, but before we get there, we have already learned that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph did have a ‘procedure’ on his injured shoulder, suffered in the team’s Week 16 loss to the New York Jets.
Earlier, Tomlin was asked if Rudolph would be having surgery due to the injury. He said no. Nevertheless, he ended up in the hospital anyway. As he explained to reporters, via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “it was a procedure to reduce my sternoclavicular bone, so it’s not a big deal at all”. There are certainly those who will understand this much better than myself, but it doesn’t sound very significant at all.
Nevertheless, the reality is that Rudolph is not expected to be able to resume throwing for at least several weeks. Now, does that particularly matter? Not a great deal, though we do know from last offseason that he pretty much didn’t give himself one.
Spending his rookie year in its entirety as the number three quarterback, Rudolph didn’t get much of any practice time in 2018, so in the offseason, he did an extensive amount of work on his own, even hiring a training coach to work with him. He was determined to move up the depth chart, and he pulled that off.
Being sidelined for the first several weeks of the offseason won’t really be much of a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it may affect him, especially given the way that the season transpired. He ultimately faltered when given the keys to the starting job as an injury replacement, and when he got another opportunity, he suffered this injury.
“It’s just crazy, here I am, playing in a game and having some success, moving the team down the field—and three hours later, I am vertical in a hospital bed”, he said, confirming that this procedure happened already over a week ago. “So that kind of stunk. All small bumps in the road that that we will overcome in time”.
The Steelers scouted Rudolph heavily coming out in 2018 and believed that he had first-round talent, so jumped on the opportunity to draft him when he was available in the third round. Given the way most quarterbacks drafted in the first round that year have performed, perhaps they weren’t so far off.
Rudolph finished the year completing 176 of 283 pass attempts for 1765 yards with 13 touchdown passes to nine interceptions with a passer rating of 82. He started eight games, posting a record of 5-3, though he failed to finish two of those games. The first was due to injury, and they lost. The second was due to performance, and they won.