The NFL has experienced its share of starting quarterback departures this season, and Devlin Hodges has seen the results of this situation up close.
Hodges, an undrafted rookie from Samford University in Alabama, relieved starter Mason Rudolph in the Steelers’ last game against the Cincinnati Bengals and led them to a 16-10 victory. Coach Mike Tomlin today named Hodges to start Sunday as the Steelers (6-5) take on the Cleveland Browns (5-6).
Earlier this season, Hodges was called upon to start for the Steelers against the Los Angeles Chargers in October when both the Steelers’ longtime starter, Ben Roethlisberger, and his backup, Rudolph, were injured.
Hodges does not like injuries for his team or opponents, but he did take advantage of the situation he was placed in. Coming into the game with no NFL experience, but 14,584 passing yards (an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision record) and 111 TDs at Samford, Hodges was ready to take on fellow Alabama native and Catholic Philip Rivers, beating his Chargers 24-17.
The week after the victory, Hodges went hunting in Alabama, where he is known not only for calling plays, but calling ducks. He even won the 2009 Junior World Duck Calling Contest and the 2018 Alabama State Duck Calling Contest. These achievements earned him the nickname “Duck,” yet he did not duck any questions in this interview following the Chargers’ game about his conversion to Catholicism.