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Big Ben on Rudolph pick: How does it help us win now?

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One year after "seriously" contemplating retirement, Ben Roethlisberger is struggling with the Steelers' decision to draft Mason Rudolph as his heir apparent.

Roethlisberger has made it clear that Rudolph won't see the field anytime soon, stating early this week his intention to play for "three or five more years."

In a Friday morning interview with KDKA's Cook and Poni in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger expressed further displeasure, questioning the allocation of resources toward another potential quarterback of the future.

When Roethlisberger informed the Steelers in January of his intention to play three more years, he suspected the organization was content to go forward with Landry Jones as the backup and last year's fourth-round pick, Joshua Dobbs, in the developmental role.

"So, I was surprised when they took a quarterback," Roethlisberger said Friday, "because I thought that maybe in the third round, you can get some really good football players that can help this team now. And nothing against Mason, I think he's a great football player ... I just don't know how backing up or being the third guy, who knows where he's going to fall on the depth chart, but helps us win now."

A generous assessment of Roethlisberger's reaction would concede that he's simply being overprotective of his mates in the 2017 quarterback room, Jones and Dobbs.

"Those two guys are who I feel the worst for," Roethlisberger offered. "I'll be honest, I wasn't worried about [Rudolph] coming and taking my job. I feel confident that I can go out and beat whoever I need to beat out for my job. ... I do feel bad for those guys.

"I don't know what's going to happen. I assume Landry's still the two, I don't really know. And Josh, same thing. Last year you take him in the fourth round, so does that mean the Steelers screwed up in that pick? Like do they think that he wasn't the one that they thought, or has he not developed the way they thought? Why else would you take a quarterback in the third round the next year?"

Without access to Pittsburgh's practices or the coaching staff's evaluations, it's impossible to gauge Dobbs' progress. What we do know, however, is that he was overwhelmed in preseason action last summer and the presence of Rudolph places his roster spot in jeopardy.

It's hard to blame the Steelers for taking another swing at a quarterback they graded on par with the best in this year's draft class. Even if Roethlisberger plans to play three more years, he's not in a position to guarantee that level of commitment.

"The key is, for me, I'm always going to take it one season at a time," Roethlisberger added Friday. "I'm going to give everything this year and lay it all on the line like I do every week, for this season, for my guys. And then just really kind of at the end of the season, it's the same thing. You go through the evaluation process of how you feel."

The Steelers' responsibility is to the fans, the city of Pittsburgh, the members of the organization and the entire roster -- not just to Roethlisberger and his quarterback-room cohorts.

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