The Pittsburgh Steelers‘ 2019 season is largely remembered for four things: the trade of a first-round pick that brought Minkah Fitzpatrick to town, Mason Rudolph’s scrum with Myles Garrett, Zach Banner lining up as an eligible receiver, and the short emergence of quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges. Hodges, who also had a brief stint the Rams before spending the 2021 season in the Canadian Football League, has announced his retirement from pro football.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds,” Hodges said, “but I know that the next chapter in my life is going to be fun.”
Nicknamed “Duck” for his passion for hunting, Hodges enjoyed a stellar college career at Samford, where in 2018 he was awarded the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the best NCAA FCS football player. Despite his success, Hodges did not hear his name called during the 2019 NFL Draft. He initially signed with the Steelers in May of 2019 and was added to their practice squad in September. Hodges was then activated to the active roster following Roethlisberger’s season-ending injury in the season’s second week.
At 1-4, Pittsburgh’s season was on the brink when Hodges made his first career start in Week 6. Hodges, who replaced an injured Rudolph, helped the Steelers upset the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. Hodges returned to the bench before replacing an ineffective Rudolph in Cincinnati in Week 12, with his 79-yard touchdown pass to James Washington giving the Steelers a come-from-behind win.
At 8-5, the Steelers were on the inside track of the AFC playoff picture when the Bills came to Pittsburgh in Week 16. Hodges and the Steelers’ offense struggled in a 17-10 loss to Buffalo. And in a twist, Rudolph came into replace a struggling Hodges during the Steelers’ road loss to the Jets the following week. Hodges returned to the starting lineup for Pittsburgh’s season-finale, a road loss to Baltimore that gave the Steelers a final record of 8-8, a surprising record given the fact that the Steelers played most of the year without their future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Hodges spent the 2020 season on the Steelers’ practice squad before spending part of the 2021 training camp in Los Angeles. After signing with the Ottawa RedBlacks last fall, Hodges made one start during his one season in the Canadian Football League.
Similar to 2019, the Steelers have question marks as it relates to the quarterback position. Following Roethlisberger’s retirement, the Steelers signed Mitchell Trubisky, who will compete with Rudolph to be the team’s starting quarterback for the 2022 season. The Steelers, who hold the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, are also expected to use a high draft pick on a quarterback.