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No hard feelings: Rudolph looking forward to meeting Big Ben

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Not much was familiar to Mason Rudolph when the Pittsburgh Steelers' rookies convened last weekend for the club's minicamp. However, the Steelers made sure to provide at least one level of comfort for Rudolph, a third-round pick in last month's 2018 NFL Draft.

The Steelers paired Rudolph with his star receiver from Oklahoma State, James Washington, for the three-day, five-practice camp. Washington, selected by Pittsburgh in Round 2, and Rudolph wasted no time using their relationship to mutual benefit.

"Every night we had a little study session working through the signals and working through things, like when I'm hot (blitzed), how he has to adjust his route based on protection," Rudolph said. "I would voice out play calls to help him understand his responsibilities. We kept it pretty much about football."

The two connected on the field, too, as would be expected from a tandem that accounted for an average of a touchdown per game last season at Oklahoma State.

"Friday morning was a learning process, then Friday afternoon was better and Saturday was great," Rudolph said. "James and I connected a few times for some touchdowns and ripped it up Saturday. Then Sunday we had a short practice to wrap things up."

The Steelers' offensive concepts aren't much different from what Rudolph learned at Oklahoma State, but the terminology, he said, is more of an adjustment and will require significant memorization. Amid the lengthy play calls, the different reads and the new faces, Washington's skills looked the same as they did in college to Rudolph.

"I just know the way he moves, I know his catch radius and where I can put balls, how fluid of a runner he is," Rudolph said. "I know how he accelerates and the way corners think they can discourage a throw by the cushion they give him. He creates a lot of separation on in-breaking routes. He's unbelievable."

Rudolph and Washington also received texts from Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger prior to minicamp wishing them good luck. It was a welcome message for Rudolph after Roethlisberger had previously questioned the Steelers' decision to draft the QB.

"It was just a good luck text. It was short and sweet and I appreciated it," Rudolph said. "I'm looking forward to meeting Ben. I can't wait to work with a guy I've watched for so many years and I'm going to learn everything I can from him and our staff."

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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