Kenny Pickett, the quarterback for the Steelers, refutes claims that he communicated his unwillingness to participate to the team.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett stated that the coaching staff believed he was not prepared to play against Seattle, which is the reason he was not active during the Steelers’ 30-20 victory over the Seahawks.

The second-year professional, who recently underwent right ankle surgery, denied online speculation that he declined to be a backup behind Mason Rudolph.

“There was no discussion of me being a backup quarterback this week in terms of being a two,” Pickett said on Tuesday. “If I was deemed healthy enough to play and the trainers and coaches believed I looked good enough, I would have started and played. However, they believed I wasn’t ready, so I didn’t dress for the game.”

Coach Mike Tomlin mentioned on Monday that Pickett was medically cleared to play, but he chose to make Pickett inactive due to his limited practice repetitions. Pickett was listed as “questionable” prior to the game and observed from the sideline while Rudolph led the offense to gain 468 yards.

Tomlin decided to stick with Rudolph for the upcoming game in Baltimore on Saturday, as the Steelers (9-7) aim to keep their playoff hopes alive against the AFC North champion Ravens (13-3). Pickett is expected to serve as the backup. Although Pickett expressed his desire to compete, he recognizes that Rudolph has earned the opportunity to build on his impressive performances in the recent victories over Cincinnati and Seattle, which have kept Pittsburgh’s postseason chances alive.

“Mason played well when he got in there,” Pickett said. “I have a great deal of respect for Mason and everything he has accomplished, as well as what our team has been doing. So now that I am healthy again, my role is to be the backup. If something happens and he goes down, I need to be ready to step in and continue supporting him as I have been.”

Pickett mentioned that he is not yet considering the long-term implications of Rudolph’s performance. Pickett is under contract for at least two more seasons, while Rudolph will become a free agent in March.

“It’s been a day-to-day, week-by-week situation,” said Pickett, emphasizing his good relationship with both Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky. “We will address that when the time comes.”

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