Duck tales: The surprising, duck-calling, record-breaking ride for Steelers QB Devlin Hodges
QBC Birmingham trainee and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin Hodges filled in for injured starter Mason Rudolph and went 7/9 for 68 yards and a touchdown drive in his first NFL action last Sunday. This week he gets his first NFL start. It’s been quite a turn of events over the past few months for Devlin, who went undrafted out of Samford (where he set the all-time FCS passing yards record), got cut after preseason with the Steelers, was signed to the practice squad after Pittsburgh traded back-up Josh Dobbs, then got the call-up to the 53-man roster after starter Ben Rothlisberger went down with injury. Just a few weeks later, he took the field after an injury to Rudolph.
With Rudolph still out on concussion protocol, Devlin will start on Sunday as the Steelers visit the Chargers.
It’s a dream come true for a guy who has worked his tail off for this opportunity. A recent story on ESPN.com detailed Devlin’s journey; here’s an excerpt:
The legend of Devlin Hodges doesn’t start on a football field.
Instead, the story of the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ newest QB1 begins in a hockey rink in Birmingham, Alabama.
Hodges was 2 years old the first time he was strapped into a pair of ice skates.
A year later, he was playing on a team with 4- and 5-year-olds coached by his dad. A toddler on a hockey team in the heart of the Deep South.
“We put him on the skates,” said his mom, Amy. “And I mean literally he took off.”
So, too, did the tall tales of “Duck” Hodges.
A hockey natural who later become a record-setting FCS quarterback, Hodges enters Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) as the projected starting quarterback. Mason Rudolph suffered a concussion against the Ravens, although he returned Wednesday to limited practice, and Ben Roethlisberger, the man Rudolph replaced, suffered a season-ending elbow injury in Week 2.
A month ago, Hodges was at home in Alabama, mowing his mom’s lawn. He had plans to try out for another team when the Steelers called. That call put him on the fast track to starting in a week in which the Steelers are trying to salvage their season. But that’s been the story of Hodges’ life.
Here’s an interview with Devlin during QB Country draft prep:
@DevlinHodges10 had a dream.
He didn’t know how he would get there. All he needed was a chance…
— QB Country (@QBCountry) October 8, 2019