Ben Roethlisberger Says He'll Help Mason Rudolph, Prior Comments Made 'In Jest'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) warms up before an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Monday, Dec. 25, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger downplayed the potential for issues with understudy Mason Rudolph after helping the rookie during Tuesday's organized team activities.

Joe Rutter of the Tribune-Review provided comments from Roethlisberger, who said his previous remark about how Rudolph "doesn't need me" wasn't analyzed properly.

"I think people took some things that I said in a context that I was going to be mean or rude or whatever," Roethlisberger said. "That was not it at all. If you listen to the whole conversation, I said it in jest and was laughing and having fun."

The Steelers selected Rudolph out of Oklahoma State in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft.

While the decision to take the reigning winner of the Sammy Baugh Trophy seemed to catch Roethlisberger off his guard, his own decisions and comments likely played a role in the choice.

The 36-year-old Ohio native didn't commit to playing the 2017 season until last April. After that, he told reporters he wasn't prepared to make any type of long-term commitment to the organization.

"I never commit to anyone more than one year," he said last May. "That's how we always commit to this sport. If we look past this year we're cheating ourselves and we're cheating other people. We have to give this year everything we have because ultimately what we have is right here and right now."

His tone suddenly changed in a conversation with Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after Pittsburgh took Rudolph.

"But I plan on playing for three to five more years, depending on how the line goes and staying healthy, if I can stay healthy," Roethlisberger said. "If he's going to be their guy, that's great, but in my perfect world it's not going to be for a while."

Roethlisberger is coming off another strong season for the Steelers. He completed 64.2 percent of his throws for 4,251 yards with 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions across 15 appearances.

He's under contract for two more years and will likely remain the team's starter until he decides to retire. But it's hard to blame Pittsburgh for seeking his heir apparent given the six-time Pro Bowler's stance on the potential of retirement in recent years.

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