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Steelers QB Kenny Pickett rips rumor that he refused to be backup in Week 17 vs. Seahawks

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett has fired back at the suggestion that he refused to be the backup quarterback last week.

Speaking from the locker room on Tuesday, Pickett said he was inactive during Sunday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks because he wasn't medically cleared.

"I saw reports that I feel were attacking, you know, my character and how I am as a person, not even getting to a player's standpoint of it," Pickett told reporters at the beginning of his media session, per The Athletic. "There was no talk of me being a backup quarterback this week in terms of being a two. If I was healthy enough to play, the trainers and coaches felt like I was good enough to play, I was going to start and play. If they believed I was not, which they believed I was not, I was not going to dress and suit up for the game. So, whoever reported that, (I) don't know where it started, it's kind of crazy what people would write and put out there. To try to prove their point or help their standpoint or their careers -- and what you guys do.

"But I'm disappointed to see that, without any proof or basis of it. So, this week, I am now the two. They feel good four weeks out of the surgery for me to dress and be the two. So, I will be the two and do what I have to do to be ready to go for Baltimore. If there are any other questions about that, I feel I answered it pretty good there. If there's anything else or Baltimore questions, then we'll get on to Baltimore."

Despite Pickett being medically cleared to return for Week 18 -- he was a full participant in Tuesday's walkthrough practice -- head coach Mike Tomlin is sticking with Mason Rudolph as the starter for Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. The offense has opened up significantly with Rudolph under center. In the two games with the veteran starting, Pittsburgh is averaging 432.5 yards per game, 275.0 passing yards, and 32 points per game. With Pickett and Mitchell Trubisky starting, the Steelers averaged 287.1 points per tilt, 177.1 passing yards per game and 15.9 points per contest.

A first-round pick, Pickett is surely upset with Tomlin's decision to stick with Rudolph, but he insisted he's prepared to do whatever it takes to help the Steelers win and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Tomlin's decision, coupled with Rudolph lighting up the offense, make Pickett's future in Pittsburgh and where the Steelers turn at quarterback a massive offseason storyline in the Steel City.

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