Was Mason Rudolph's social media message a goodbye to Steelers fans?

Mason Rudolph helped guide the Pittsburgh Steelers to the playoffs, but is he saying goodbye to Steelers fans?

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers managed to sneak into the playoffs as the AFC's seventh seed. After some inclement weather delays, the Steelers were eliminated by the Buffalo Bills, 31-17.

The fact that the Steelers were even in the postseason to begin with can largely be attributed to the efforts of fifth-year quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Rudolph began the season as the team's third-string quarterback. After quarterback Kenny Pickett suffered a high ankle sprain, Pittsburgh tried the Mitch Trubisky experiment for one game before realizing he wasn't the answer. For the final three games of the season, the Steelers handed the reins to Rudolph. Rudolph brought a spark to the passing game. The fifth-year veteran led the Steelers to three consecutive wins, as well as their only two games with 30 or more points scored all season. In his three starts, Rudolph finished 53-for-71 for 716 yards, with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Now, Rudolph is a pending free agent, but Steelers fans have wondered if their future would be brighter with Rudolph rather than Pickett. Head coach Mike Tomlin, whose own future in Pittsburgh has been in doubt, gave the impression that the team wanted to re-sign the upcoming free agent quarterback.

Rudolph, however, didn't seem to get the message.

Mason Rudolph's cryptic post suggests he won't return to the Steelers

On Friday, Rudolph posted a cyptic message reflecting on his time as a PIttsburgh Steeler.

"Forever grateful to have been given an opportunity to take the field again as a Pittsburgh Steeler," Rudolph said in the post. "God sure works in mysterious ways."

In the playoff loss against Buffalo, Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph finished 22-of-39 for 229 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The Steelers failed to score until their seventh drive when a blocked Buffalo field goal attempt gave Pittsburgh possession in the waning minutes of the first half. Rudolph took advantage of the great starting field position by finding receiver Diontae Johnson for a 10-yard touchdown. Pittsburgh's two opening drives of the second half resulted in 10 points, which cut Buffalo's lead down to one score. Rudolph failed to get the Steelers back into scoring position, but his performance was enough to earn the respect of Pittsburgh legend Ben Roethlisberger.

"I think Mason did a great job coming in the last few games," Roethlisberger said on his Footbahlin podcast. "He earned himself a chance to compete either here or get paid somewhere else. We'll see what happens."

Even if the Steelers want to keep Rudolph, he may not have much incentive to stay. After all, he was buried on the depth chart to begin the season. Pickett will get as many opportunities as possible to prove he can be the franchise quarterback. Rudolph can likely find a team that will give him a better chance of earning the starting role.

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