PITTSBURGH (KDKA/CBS Sports) — The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that Ben Roethlisberger is out for the season, so Mason Rudolph will take over as the starting quarterback.
Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury in the second quarter of the Steelers loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Steelers quarterback will undergo surgery on his right elbow and be placed on injured reserve, ending the 37-year-old’s 16th season just two weeks in.
Rudolph, who had never played in an NFL regular season game prior to Sunday, threw a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes to tight end Vance McDonald.
Rudolph led the Steelers on three scoring drives in the second half.
Rudolph said he first knew of Roethlisberger’s injury last week when he had some elbow discomfort.
“I’m excited to step up, that’s what backups do, that’s what I’ve done my entire career,” Rudolph said Monday. “I’ve always been confident in myself being the leader of the team and winning games. That’s kinda what it all comes down to. If that’s the case, I’ll be ready to roll.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin said Roethlisberger underwent an MRI exam on Sunday night and team doctors determined Roethlisberger requires surgery. Roethlisberger will have the procedure later this week.
Roethlisberger, who led the NFL in passing last season, signed an extension in March that runs through the 2021. There was no immediate timetable on his possible return.
Pittsburgh (0-2) will now move on with Rudolph, taken in the third round of the 2018 draft. Rudolph went 12 of 19 for 112 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against Seattle in the first regular-season snaps of his career.
Rudolph said that the extra reps he has received as Pittsburgh’s No. 2 quarterback paid dividends when he was thrust into the lineup.
“You gotta be prepared for those situations whenever your number is called,” said Rudolph, who beat out Josh Dobbs for the job as Pittsburgh’s backup quarterback during the preseason. “I thought I was ready. I had a really good feel for the age plan and what we had worked on all week. It was good to get that Wednesday practice in; I kinda look forward to getting when you’re in the backup spot. I had a lot of reps this week, and I didn’t feel like I was unprepared, by any means.”
The Steelers play at San Francisco (2-0) next Sunday.
“Mason’s capable,” Coach Mike Tomlin said of his second-year quarterback. “He’s been a part of this thing. He’s the backup quarterback. We’re capable of functioning at a normal manner when he’s in there, which we did.”
“I think I’ve earned the respect of those guys, every day that I’ve been here,” Rudolph said. “That kinda gets developed in practice more than just getting thrown in. They know the player I am. I wasn’t trying to do anything fancy or special, just trying to be who I am and communicate cleanly.”