Ben Roethlisberger disputes report he won’t help Mason Rudolph prepare for Browns
Mason Rudolph apparently will receive guidance from Ben Roethlisberger as he prepares for his start against the Cleveland Browns after all.
An unflattering narrative was floated this week by Michael Silver of NFL Media concerning how Roethlisberger and Rudolph do not have the best relationship as the Steelers are set to sit their superstar quarterback Sunday to allow the starter to rest up for the postseason.
Silver suggested that Roethlisberger is unwilling to help his backup prepare for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season finale due to the purported rift.
If I'm Mason Rudolph, there's one @steelers starter I'm begging Mike Tomlin not to rest against the @Browns … From NFL Now with @AndrewSiciliano @MarcRoss @AKinkhabwala @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/r7taLHw11D— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) December 29, 2020
“I don’t think Mason Rudolph’s gonna get a lot of help from Ben Roethlisberger in this prep,” Silver said. “I’m told they really don’t have much of a relationship, so the young player is going to have to sink or swim on his own here.”
On Wednesday, Roethlisberger refuted any such notion.
“I’ll be here for Mason [Rudolph], for Josh [Dobbs], whoever it may be,” Roethlisberger told reporters via the team’s YouTube channel, as transcribed by Steelers Depot. “Kind of like last year, that’s the approach I’m going to take. I never want to step on toes, but I’ll be available for questions, to help my input with Coach Randy [Fichtner], Coach Canada, whoever it may be. I’ve already talked to Mason about that. That’s going to be my role this week to really try to and do everything I can to be there to answer questions or to be of help to them to get them prepared for this game.”
The only surprising aspect of Roethlisberger refuting Silver’s reporting is that he didn’t call out the media member, as he is wont to do from time to time.
Still, there is something to the purported dysfunctional relationship between Roethlisberger and Rudolph. Things between the two quarterbacks got off to a rocky start after the Steelers selected Rudolph in the third round in the 2018 NFL Draft. Rudolph, however, pushed back, saying Big Ben was “great” and “helpful” throughout his first NFL offseason program.
All that aside, the storyline surrounding Rudolph starting against the Browns is of course compelling enough on its own.
In front of a national TV audience on “Thursday Night Football in a Week 11 divisional showdown last season between the Steelers in Browns, arguably one of the ugliest on-field scenes in NFL history played out.
A late-game confrontation and subsequent dustup between Myles Garrett and Rudolph culminated with the Browns star shockingly brandishing Rudolph’s helmet as a weapon, striking the quarterback in the head with it amid the chaos.
There presumably won’t be any such appalling incidents during Sunday’s divisional clash, though the Browns will be fighting for their playoff lives against the Steelers as a win means they’re in.