Devlin Hodges ‘not disappointed at all’ about returning to No. 2 QB role
Devlin “Duck” Hodges spent his four-day break on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ bye week in Canada.
The purpose of the trip was — what else? — duck hunting.
When Hodges returned to practice with his teammates Monday, he did so as the Steelers’ No. 2 quarterback, the role he served until Mason Rudolph’s concussion in the third quarter Oct. 6 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol during the bye, Rudolph resumed taking his regular workload Monday. That meant fewer snaps — Monday and beyond — for Hodges, who led the Steelers to a 24-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in his first career start.
“It’s nice to see him fully back,” Hodges said. “I’m not disappointed at all.”
Hodges wasn’t surprised last Wednesday when coach Mike Tomlin emphatically stated Rudolph would resume his starting role once he was cleared, which happened later that day.
“That’s something I kind of figured and knew was going to happen,” Hodges said. “Mason was the starter from the get-go. It wasn’t like he was playing bad. He just got injured. When he got injured, as the backup my job was to step up and do what it takes to be successful and give our team the best chance to win a ballgame, and that’s what I did.”
Center Maurkice Pouncey, who works more closely with the quarterback than perhaps any other player, also expected Rudolph to regain his starting job.
“We already knew it. When you’re a third-round draft pick, they draft you to come in produce at a high level. If you get hurt, they don’t take your spot just because a person had a good game,” Pouncey said. “He’s won the spot. He’s done enough to show he’s won the trust of the whole entire organization and the front office. So to say he got knocked out of the game and now he’s going to get Wally Pipp-ed? Nah, nah, nah, no one will go for that.
“Duck understands, too. Mason went out there and balled out. It was just an unlucky play that he got hit, and the next man has to step up. Duck will be ready if anything else happens.”
Hodges said he will continue to be supportive of Rudolph in his return.
“Mason is my guy,” Hodges said. “He’s going to support me, and I’m going to support him. I told everyone he’s one of my closer friends on the team, so I’m super excited he’s back.”
Hodges completed 15 of 20 passes for 132 yards, a touchdown and one interception in the win over the Chargers, which improved the Steelers’ record to 2-4 heading into the bye.
“He did great. He did awesome,” said Rudolph, who made the trip to Los Angeles despite being inactive for the game. “He had a good week of practice. He’s a good player, executed well, put the ball in our playmakers’ hands and moved the ball well.”
Note: Wide receiver James Washington, who missed the game against the Chargers with a shoulder injury, said he was a full practice particpant Monday. “I’m ready to go and do what I can do,” he said.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .