Ben Roethlisberger on Mason Rudolph era in Pittsburgh: 'It's not going to be for a while'

The Steelers traded up to draft Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round of last week’s NFL draft, seemingly putting a clock on the Ben Roethlisberger era in Pittsburgh.

General manager Kevin Colbert said that the team valued Rudolph “as much as the rest of those quarterbacks that were drafted” in the first round of the draft and was happy to sacrifice a seventh-round pick to ensure the team got its guy in the third round.

On Tuesday, a fire apparently lit, Roethlisberger attempted to douse the flames of his presumed successor in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Well, that’s fine. He can do that,” the 36-year-old Roethlisberger said of Rudolph being his heir apparent. “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.

“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.”

37 PHOTOS
Ben Roethlisberger throughout his career
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Ben Roethlisberger throughout his career
24 April 2004: Ben Roethlisberger selected 11th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2004 NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Bob Leverone/Sporting News via Getty Images)
OXFORD, OH - SEPTEMBER 7: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks looks on during a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Yager Stadium on September 7, 2002 in Oxford, Ohio. The Hawkeyes won 29-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
1 Sep 2001: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Miami Ohio Redhawks throwing the ball during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Redhawks 31-13.Mandatory Credit: Danny Moloshok /Allsport
24 April 2004: Ben Roethlisberger selected 11th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers during the 2004 NFL Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Bob Leverone/Sporting News via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - AUGUST 21: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers on the sideline during the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-3 preseason game win over the Houston Texans on August 21, 2004 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 31: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers records a video while arriving at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on January 31, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. The Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 6: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the field before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Heinz Field on December 6, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Raiders defeated the Steelers 27-24. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 22: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warming up before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs defeated the Steelers 27-24. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates after Rashard Mendenhall #34 ran for an eight yard touchdown against the Green Bay Packers in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 06: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up prior to playing the Oakland Raiders on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers calls a play in the huddle against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 31-25. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 06: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates a second quarter touchdown while playing the Oakland Raiders on December 6, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 23: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 and Running Back Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers enjoy the presentation of the Lamar Hunt Tropy after a win against the New York Jets during the AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field on January 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Steelers beat the Jets, 24-19, to advance to the Super Bowl. (Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. The Packers won 31-25. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 15: NFL player Ben Roethlisberger (C) accepts the award for Best Game, Steelers vs. Cardinals Super Bowl XLIII on behalf of the Pittsburgh Steelers onstage during the 2009 ESPY Awards held at Nokia Theatre LA Live on July 15, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The 17th annual ESPYs will air on Sunday, July 19 at 9PM ET on ESPN. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the Green Bay Packers during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 18: Injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks to offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey #53 and Ramon Foster #73 during a game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on November 18, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 13-10. The Steelers wore throwback uniforms based on the uniform worn by the Steelers in 1934. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 12: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Heinz Field on November 12, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in action during the New York Giants V Pittsburgh Steelers NFL American Football match at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, USA. 4th November 2012. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 02: Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger visits 'Late Show with David Letterman' at the Ed Sullivan Theater on February 2, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)
Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh greets injured Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger before their game on Sunday, November 18, 2012, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Doug Kapustin/MCT via Getty Images)
Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the New York Giants V Pittsburgh Steelers NFL American Football match at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, USA. 4th November 2012. Photo Tim Clayton (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 09: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes the ball against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 9, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 09: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on against the New York Jets during a game at MetLife Stadium on November 9, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 09: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action against the New York Jets on November 9, 2014 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Jets defeated the Steelers 20-13. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 26: John Kuhn #29 of the New Orleans Saints talks after a preseason game with Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 26, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Steelers defeated the Saints 27-14. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 12: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the Detroit Lions on August 12, 2016 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 09: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers in action during the game against the New York Jets on October 9, 2016 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 09: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the bench while playing the New York Jets at Heinz Field on October 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 31-13. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 09: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass while playing the New York Jets at Heinz Field on October 9, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 15: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) before the AFC Divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs on January 15, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs talk on the field post game in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 15: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) hands off to running back Le'Veon Bell (26) in the third quarter of the AFC Divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs on January 15, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. The Steelers won 18-16 to advance to the AFC Championship game. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers calls out a formation against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Steelers 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on before taking the snap during an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 17, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) and coach Mike Tomlin listen to the National Anthem before the start of Super Bowl XLV where the Green Bay Packers face the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, February 6, 2011. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)
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That’s a far cry from recent offseason statements by Roethlisberger, who has hinted at retirement on multiple occasions and wouldn’t commit publicly to playing past the 2017 season last year.

“I never commit to anyone more than one year,” Roethlisberger told the Post-Gazzette 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.”

Roethlisberger’s style of play sees him prone to holding on to the ball at times, which often leads to making big plays out of busted ones. It also leads to a lot of big hits on his 6-5, 240-pound frame that has taken a beating over the years.

Despite the hits, Roethlisberger has remained relatively healthy and shown few signs of slowing down. He was selected to his fourth straight Pro Bowl and sixth overall last season as the Steelers went 13-3 before losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 45-42 shootout in the divisional round of the playoffs. He threw for 4,251 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 starts.

So, for the Steelers, there’s little motivation to rush Roethlisberger out the door. As long as he’s healthy and productive there should be no clamoring for the Rudolph era to begin.

For Rudolph, there are worse things than collecting an NFL paycheck while developing behind one of the best in the game on a winning franchise loaded with weapons.

19 PHOTOS
NFL players who retired over the 2018 offseason
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NFL players who retired over the 2018 offseason

Nick Mangold, C, New York Jets

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

James Harrison, LB, New England Patriots

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Richie Incognito, G, Buffalo Bills

(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Gabe Ikard, C, Saints

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Emmett Cleary, T, Lions

(Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Rodney Adams, WR, Indianapolis Colts

(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Joe Berger, G, Minnesota Vikings

(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Danny Woodhead, RB, Baltimore Ravens

(Photo by Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Houston Texans

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Joe Thomas, T, Cleveland Browns

(Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Paul Posluszny, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

(Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)

Zach Strief, T, New Orleans Saints

(Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Antonio Cromartie, CB, Indianapolis Colts

(Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets

(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Donnie Jones, P, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

David Harris, LB, New England Patriots

(Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

(Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dwight Freeney, DE, Indianapolis Colts

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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