The availability of quarterback Kenny Pickett has been one of the biggest discussion topics early this week among the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base. After sustaining an ankle injury at home against the Arizona Cardinals on December 3rd, Pickett quickly underwent surgery in an effort to get back on the field before the end of the 2023 season.
Recently, we learned from head coach Mike Tomlin that Pickett was medically cleared prior to Pittsburgh's road game against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17. However, roughly two hours after Mason Rudolph was officially named the starter, Kenny Pickett was listed as questionable on the Steelers official injury report.
This is where things get dicey. Despite practicing in limited fashion and being medically cleared to play in Week 17, Pickett did not dress for the game. A report surfaced from Mark Madden that a source told him that Pickett refused to be the backup against the Seahawks and; thus didn't dress for the game at all.
However, during Pickett's Tuesday media session, the Steelers quarterback was livid with the things that were being said about him and the way he was being portrayed. Here's what he had to say, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.
Pickett defended the attack against his character and was disgusted by the alleged reports. After doing so, he confirmed that he would be the primary backup to Mason Rudolph this week in the season finale on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
These comments caused much of Steelers Twitter to scratch their heads and try to make sense of the events that have transpired since Friday.
If Kenny Pickett was medically cleared and healthy enough to play, why did he not dress for the game against the Seahawks in Week 17? Furthermore, if Pickett is another week removed from ankle surgery and he's healthy enough to be the backup this week, why isn't he healthy enough to start?
According to Pickett's comments, there's no doubt that he would be the starting quarterback if the trainers and medical staff thought he was good enough to go this week. But then again, if he's good enough to step into the game if Rudolph goes down, how is he not good enough to go as a starter on Saturday against the Ravens?
Pickett's comments leave us with more questions than answers
After listening to Kenny Pickett speak to the media, all of us are questioning what actually transpired. How did the conversation between Mike Tomlin and Pickett really go?
We can take Pickett at his word, but it's hard to do when most of the Steelers fan base thought the obvious choice was to roll with the hot hand in Mason Rudolph at quarterback following a blowout win over the Bengals in Week 16. Rudolph may very well be the QB that Tomlin wants at the helm right now, but he doesn't want to come out and say it.
Again, this is all speculation, but Pickett's comments leaves fans with more questions than answers. What we do know is that Mason Rudolph is the starting QB this week in the finale against the Baltimore Ravens and the Steelers need a win (plus some outside help) to get into the playoffs. This should be the focus right now.