Mike Tomlin announces Devlin Hodges will start for Steelers vs. Browns

Undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges will start Sunday for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Cleveland Browns, head coach Mike Tomlin announced Tuesday.

Hodges finished last Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals, replacing Mason Rudolph.

‘The decision is clear for us’

Tomlin said “the decision is clear for us” as part of his explanation to have Hodges start again.

This will be Hodges’ second start of the season, though the first was out of necessity. Rudolph, who became the starter after Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury in Week 2, suffered a concussion after a brutal hit to the chin by Baltimore’s Earl Thomas in Week 5.

Hodges started Week 6 against the Los Angeles Chargers, completing 15 of 20 passes for 132 yards, a touchdown and an interception in a 24-17 Pittsburgh win.

Now, Hodges is getting a tepid vote of confidence, with Tomlin saying he provided a spark in the second half against the Bengals and that he “has not killed us.

Mason Rudolph ‘hasn’t protected the ball’

Tomlin wasn’t ready to anoint Hodges as the starter for the rest of the season, and also didn’t want anyone to think that benching Rudolph now speaks to the team’s “intended plans” for the 2018 third-round draft pick.

But Rudolph “hasn’t protected the ball,” according to Tomlin.

“I got a lot of patience for young guys, but one thing we got to do is protect the ball,” he added.

Rudolph had one touchdown, four interceptions and a fumble in Pittsburgh’s Week 11 game in Cleveland, which went down in infamy for its late melee. Against the Bengals, he was 8-for-16 with a pick before he was benched.

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