Steelers: Did Mason Rudolph take a shot at Ben Roethlisberger?

Current Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph shares how he can finally relax and be “the leader he’s always been” at quarterback.

Ben Roethlisberger has all but officially retired, highlighted by his comments on his last regular season game and his nonchalance in his last playoff bout.

With Big Ben on his way out, the NFL world is circulating the names of new contenders to assume the Steelers throne, including veterans like Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins.

Until the Steelers officially sign on a successor, the man primed to lead Pittsburgh is Mason Rudolph — and he is more than ready to assume the position.

“I can maybe be a bit more myself, being the leader that I’ve always been at the quarterback position and not worried about stepping on the toes of a longtime Hall of Fame player,” Rudolph told ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.

Mason Rudolph no longer fears “stepping on the toes” of Ben Roethlisberger

Although Rudolph sounds confident in automatically assuming the starting role, the path to leading the Steelers won’t be that easy for the fifth-year Steelers quarterback. Rudolph will be competing with former Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and the competition doesn’t end there. The Steelers are also expected to draft a young, mobile quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft — even though Rudolph was drafted by the team in 2018.

Rudolph may be ready to be himself and the leader he’s always been, but there’s no way he would be stepping on the toes of Ben Roethlisberger. As Rudolph mentioned, Roethlisberger is a first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback who has kept the league on its toes since his own rookie season.

If Rudolph truly matched Roethlisberger, he would have replaced him this season. In reality, Rudolph, Haskins and likely others will all be competing to follow in Roethlisberger’s footsteps — and it’s unlikely any will come close to matching his accolades.