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#pounditFriday, June 14, 2024

Kenny Pickett addresses report that he refused to serve as backup

Kenny Pickett throws a pass during practice

May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) participates in drills during Rookie Minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A surprising rumor surfaced this week that painted Kenny Pickett in a negative light, and the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback says there is no truth to it.

Pickett underwent ankle surgery a month ago and returned to practice on Dec. 19. He was limited last week leading up to Pittsburgh’s game against the Seattle Seahawks. Pickett was then inactive for the game, and head coach Mike Tomlin said that decision was made because Pickett did not get enough reps in practice.

Then came a report on Monday from Mark Madden, who works for 105.9 The X. Madden claimed the Steelers planned to make Pickett the backup QB behind Mason Rudolph for the Seattle game, but Pickett refused the assignment.

Pickett responded to the report on Tuesday. He said there is no truth to it and criticized Madden for trying to advance his career.

“I saw reports out there that I felt like were attacking my character and how I am as a person, not even getting into a player standpoint of it. There was no talk of me being a backup quarterback this week in terms of being a (No. 2),” Pickett said. “If I was healthy enough to play and the trainers and coaches felt like I looked good enough to play, I was gonna start and play. If they believed I was not, which they believed I was not, I was not gonna dress and suit up for the game.

“This week, I’m now the 2. They feel good four weeks out of the surgery for me to dress and be the 2. So I will be the 2 and do what I have to do to be ready to go for Baltimore.”

Pickett did not directly address whether he was open to serving as the backup behind Rudolph last week. According to him, that was never the plan. Though, Tomlin did indicate that Pickett was healthy. Perhaps Tomlin felt Pickett was not up to speed enough to be active at all, even as a reserve player.

Whatever the case, it is now clear that Pickett has lost his starting job. Rudolph led Pittsburgh to an upset win over the Seahawks in Week 17. The Steelers have scored at least 30 points in both of Rudolph’s starts, which is something they never achieved in their first 14 games of the season.

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