After the Pittsburgh Steelers lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the season, they acted quickly Monday to add one quarterback to the active roster and another to the practice squad.
Mason Rudolph, a third-round draft pick, takes over as the starter, beginning Sunday against the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, it seems, never was under serious consideration.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin was asked Monday if the organization contacted Kaepernick after learning that Roethlisberger would require season-ending surgery on his elbow. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016, but his résumé is more impressive than either rookie backup Devlin Hodges or Paxton Lynch, the club’s newest addition to the practice squad.
“Hey guys, I went through the process that we went through in terms of our decision making,” Tomlin said during a press conference Monday. “We went with Hodges because he’s been a significant component of our offseason and training camp; and for short term fluidity, we thought that was the best.
“And we acquired Paxton Lynch because he is practice squad eligible and we can bring him up to speed and evaluate him without utilizing a roster spot. I’m not talking openly about free agents that aren’t on our roster. That conversation could go on for days and be endless. There’s a number of people at the quarterback position and others that are unemployed in today’s NFL. I’m not going to use this forum to do that.”
Kaepernick has been the center of a national controversy since he chose to kneel during the playing of the national anthem during the 2016 season as a way to protest racial inequality.
In February, the NFL reached settlements with Kaepernick and former 49ers safety Eric Reid on their collusion grievances. Reid remains in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers.
Kaepernick, 31, played six seasons with the 49ers. He appeared in 69 games with 58 starts. Kaepernick is a 59.8 percent career passer with 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions and has a career passer rating of 88.9. He also rushed for 2,300 yards.