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Is Ben Roethlisberger unhappy that the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph?

Ben Roethlisberger Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger took to the airwaves on Friday and showed a hint of disproval in the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting Mason Rudolph in the third round of the NFL Draft. On Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan, the starting quarterback had this to say about the pick:

“I was surprised they took a QB because I thought maybe in the third round you can get some really good players that can help this team win now. Nothing against Mason I think he is a great player. I don’t know him personally but I’m sure he is a great kid. I just don’t know how backing up or being the third, who knows where he’s going to fall in the depth chart but helps us win now but that’s not my decision to make that’s all the coaches and the GM and owner…if they feel like he can help our team, so be it but I was a little surprised.”

Roethlisberger basically was hoping for help in other areas on the team. However, the Steelers took the opportunity to pick up what could be their QB of the future. Big Ben had one the best seasons of his career in 2017. He placed fourth in the NFL with 4,251 passing yards. Add in 28 touchdowns (T-5th NFL) and 64.2 completion percentage, and it’s easy to see that he can still play at least a couple of more years. Roethlisberger also led the Steelers to a 12-3 record in 15 starts.

The issue that Big Ben doesn’t realize is his comments after the playoff loss to Jacksonville last year. “I’m just playing it one year at a time.” He said on his radio show back in January. Even though he reassured that he was coming back in 2018, comments like that can cause panic with an organization. Especially one that would have to replace their franchise quarterback. That’s why Pittsburgh ultimately took traded up to take Mason Rudolph in the draft. The Steelers need someone capable of producing numbers like Roethlisberger has and seen the perfect opportunity in Rudolph. It wasn’t a move to make them better next year, but a move to plan for their future. That also wasn’t the first time that Ben Roethlisberger made a comment about retiring either. In 2016, he talked about maybe calling it quits. With Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs as the other quarterbacks on the roster, the Steelers felt that they needed a contingency plan if their starting quarterback decided to follow through on his previous comments. Jones has made five career NFL starts and has failed to impress on being the successor under center. Dobbs has never taken a regular season snap. So picking up a guy like Rudolph isn’t the worst decision the Steelers could make.

Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger currently ranks eighth all-time with 51,065 passing yards. He should jump up to sixth after the 2018 NFL season.

Mason Rudolph definitely won’t be receiving a warm welcome from Ben Roethlisberger though. “If he asks me a question, I might just have to point to the playbook.” Roethlisberger mention after being asked about mentoring Rudolph. That shows he’s unhappy with the decision on drafting Rudolph and is unwilling to let it go for the time being.  I get that Roethlisberger may feel like the Steelers may start pushing him out the door when Rudolph is ready, but that won’t happen in 2018. No athlete likes the idea of a player signing to possibly replace them one day. That’s just how it goes. Pittsburgh will always cherish their time with Roethlisberger, but they also have to plan for the future.

If Roethlisberger didn’t want the front office to draft a quarterback, then he shouldn’t have been talking about retirement. When you say you’re playing a year at a time, you’re telling the organization that the next season may be your last. How is the team supposed to respond to that? I guess in his eyes, they just need to let it go and not worry about it. He’s signed through 2019 and will be 37 when his contract is up. After taking in the hints at retirement, the Steelers have to start making plans if that’s the end of the Ben Roethlisberger era. It also gives Rudolph a couple of seasons to learn the system and develop into a starting NFL quarterback. So while Big Ben thinks different, drafting Rudolph was a smart decision by the Pittsburgh Steelers.