The news earlier in the week that veteran quarterback Mason Rudolph was returning to the only NFL franchise he’s ever known in the Pittsburgh Steelers was rather surprising. For Rudolph, the decision was rather easy, in large part due to the familiarity with the franchise.
Appearing on the “Steel Here” podcast with Barstool’s Jersey Jerry and Kevin Adams Friday, Rudolph said that the grass “isn’t always greener” on the other side.
“Number one, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the tunnel. It’s a special place,” Rudolph said, according to video via Jersey Jerry’s YouTube page. “The continuity we got in the quarterback room, the relationships, Mike T and his mode of operation, his charisma…I just talked to Omar Khan and Mike T in the last week, and kind of hadn’t really, hadn’t had much communication through the free agent process, but I’m here now and I’m fired up to be back and to be a part of the team.
“God’s got a plan and not always what we might think it is, but I’m happy to be back full circle and put my hand in the pile, as Coach T would say.”
Oftentimes, the Steelers let guys hit free agency and figure out what their market might look like while seemingly keeping the door open to return. While the Steelers very clearly did that with Rudolph this offseason, a reunion looked like a near impossibility.
Instead, the Steelers surprised everyone by bringing back the fifth-year NFL veteran to solidify the quarterback room behind starter Kenny Pickett and backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who signed a three-year extension just days after Rudolph returned.
Though Rudolph certainly looked at other opportunities elsewhere, the lure of Pittsburgh eventually pulled him back. While he didn’t see the field in 2022 after a strong preseason and training camp and dressed for just one game in total, the familiarity, continuity and relationships built over the years in Pittsburgh eventually brought him back.
It might not have been what Rudolph envisioned after the 2022 season ended. He hit the open market as a free agent coming off five seasons in Pittsburgh and 10 career starts, but things tend to work themselves out. While it might not be the most ideal situation for Rudolph to be a QB3 with very little shot at seeing the field outside of injuries, he’s in a place he knows well with other quarterbacks he very clearly enjoys being around, while also playing under a coach in Tomlin and a QB coach in Mike Sullivan he respects and appreciates.
Check out the entire conversation below.