Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers Qbs: A History of Draft Threats Said Bubby Brister When the Team Drafted Neil O'donnell:'bring Him On!'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Steelers Qbs: A History of Draft Threats Said Bubby Brister When the Team Drafted Neil O'donnell:'bring Him On!'

Article excerpt

Their franchise quarterback talked about retirement, so the Steelers, looking to the future, drafted another priority quarterback to succeed The Man.

The story of Ben Roethlisberger and rookie Mason Rudolph? Not quite.

Terry Bradshaw talked about retiring after the Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl in January 1980, maybe go into acting full time. The Steelers responded by drafting quarterback Mark Malone in the first round three months later.

Did Bradshaw feel threatened by the rookie?

"I don't recall,'' said Malone, who hosts a daily show on NBC Sports Radio. "He was three months removed from his fourth Super Bowl victory. What did he have to be threatened by?"

Roethlisberger reacted defiantly to those suggesting the Steelers selected Rudolph, the Steelers' highest pick at quarterback since 2004, to succeed him.

"If he's going to be their guy, that's great," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week, "but in my perfect world it's not going to be for a while."

Starting quarterbacks often shrug it off when teams draft another at their position in the middle or later rounds. But drafting a rookie higher often prompts a stronger reaction.

Roethlisberger's response was similar to Bubby Brister's when the Steelers drafted Neil O'Donnell in the third round in 1990.

"Bring him on!" Brister intoned. Two years earlier, during open competition with Malone entering 1988 training camp, he said, "I'm the man, write it down."

The reaction of Tommy Maddox was quite different after the Steelers picked Roethlisberger in 2004 with the 11th overall selection.

Agent Vann McElroy described Maddox's reaction to the pick as ranging from anger to betrayal to emotional. He said Maddox was promised the Steelers would draft a tackle first. He said Maddox was so upset that he would fly from Dallas the next day to discuss the situation with Bill Cowher and the Rooneys, and Maddox did just that. …

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