Rudolph on Big Ben: ‘I’d probably say the same thing’

NFL: Combine: Quarterback Mason Rudolph speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine at the Indianapolis Convention Center on March 2.Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

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Mason Rudolph isn’t taking Ben Roethlisberger’s recent comments personally.

Roethlisberger told radio station 93.7 The Fan that he was surprised the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The 36-year-old Roethlisberger reasoned that the Steelers could have been better served with a player who could immediately help the team and also noted that he doesn’t expect Rudolph to see the field for a while.

“If I was Ben, I’d probably say the same thing,” Rudolph said on The NFL Network’s “Path To The Draft” over the weekend.

“He’s a competitor. Obviously, he has a lot of confidence in himself, like I do. And, yeah, he’s going to be a future Hall of Famer, and I would expect him to say that. So I’m just looking forward to going in there and learning the system, competing, raising my level of play, preparing like I’m the starter even though obviously I won’t be the starter and just waiting and being prepared for whenever I get my time. Whenever my time comes, to be ready and take advantage of it.”

Roethlisberger, who has two years left on his current contract, told the team this offseason that he planned to play three to five more seasons.

“Nothing against Mason; I think he’s a great football player,” Roethlisberger said. “I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid. I just don’t know how backing up or being a third (string) — well, who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart — helps us win now.”

Roethlisberger played in every game in 2017 until sitting out the regular-season finale and earned his sixth Pro Bowl selection, throwing for 4,251 yards with 28 touchdowns versus 14 interceptions. He also became the first quarterback in history with three 500-yard games.

The depth chart behind Roethlisberger consists of Landry Jones as the backup, 2017 fourth-round pick Joshua Dobbs and Rudolph.

Pittsburgh was ecstatic to get Rudolph in the third round, trading two draft picks to move up three spots to No. 76 to snag a player that general manager Kevin Colbert said they “valued as much as the rest of those quarterbacks that were drafted (in the first round).”

Rudolph posted a 32-9 mark as a starter with Oklahoma State and owns 54 school records, including single-season passing yards (4,553) and career passing yards (13,618), passing touchdowns (90) and pass efficiency (63.2 percent).