Photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 15 years, the Steelers’ quarterback position is in flux as Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season.

Now, the starting job is at the feet of second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph. Selected in the third round of last year’s draft, Rudolph made his debut going 12 of 19 passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

He showed promise and was a solid insurance policy. After Rudolph was selected, however, it did not sit well with Big Ben, who indicated he wanted to play 3-5 years. Moreover, the Steelers couldn’t be sure of Roethlisberger’s intent, as retirement rumors have run wild.

“It’s crazy, losing the leader of our team,” Rudolph said. “It’s a crazy turn of events. I am excited to step up. That’s what backups do. That is what I have done my entire career, whether it be high school, college or now.

“Nothing different for me,” he added. “I am going to be the same person I am, continue to prepare. I try to prepare like I am the starter when I am not. I am going to continue to go through my weekly routine and put a good game plan together with the staff and go execute.”

Labor Conquers all Things

At Oklahoma State University, Rudolph entered his true freshman season in 2014. As a third-string QB, Rudolph started his first career game against Baylor after the starting QB and backup went down with injuries.

Rudolph remained the starter beating 2015 Cactus Bowl victory over Washington. He was named the starter for the 2015 season and in 2017, he won the Johnny Unitas Award, which is given to the best senior college quarterback. Last season, he set career highs with 4,553 yards and 35 touchdowns at Oklahoma State. His play has improved each year, leading the team to 10-3 records in each of his full seasons starting.

Now the Steelers will see if Rudolph is their future. His skills will be on full display this year.  And Mike Tomlin has never coached anyone as a prolonged starter until now. The Steelers may be entering a new era of life without Big Ben.

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