‘Duck’ Hodges Back on the Pond with Steelers’ Practice Squad

Steelers rookie quarterback looking to again show what he can do

Josh Rowntree
September 12, 2019 - 12:13 pm
Steelers QB Devlin Hodges at practice in 2019

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

Devlin Hodges continues to prove the doubters wrong. 

The rookie quarterback, who caught the eye of Steelers fans during training camp with his strong play and ‘Duck’ nickname, signed back with the Steelers on Tuesday after the team traded Josh Dobbs to Jacksonville. He was placed on Pittsburgh's practice squad. 

Hodges, a champion duck caller and duck hunter from Alabama, essentially got a week off, being cut last Saturday and missing the team’s preparation for the Patriots. He went back home to Alabama and mulled his options. 

“It started off cutting my mom’s grass for her,” Hodges said. “I just took some time to clear my mind. Obviously, you never know what’s going to happen. I was sitting there, thinking, a lot of things going through my head.”

There were options. He tweeted at the XFL, leading some to think that the all-time leading passer in FCS history would give that a shot. But then a pair of NFL opportunities presented themselves.

“It’s funny, I was actually on my way to the airport to go do a workout for the Jets,” Hodges said. “The Steelers called and said ‘hey, we want to bring you back up for the practice squad’ and I didn’t think twice about it. I turned my truck around and went home and started packing.”

Despite not playing in the third preseason game, Hodges finished the preseason 20 of 38 passing for 190 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. 

“I’ve got what it takes to be an NFL quarterback,” he said. “I’ve got what it takes to have the potential to be successful. The coaches told me that they think I can be successful.”

The decision to rejoin the Steelers — and cancel on the Jets — was a no-brainer for him.

“I love the guys on the team,” he said. “I had a great time during camp and, mainly, I feel comfortable here. I’m glad to be back and hopefully I’m here to stay a little bit.”

Hodges threw for 14,584 yards and 111 touchdowns as a four-year starter at Samford. He broke the FCS passing mark previously held by Steve McNair. 

He sited his knowledge of the offense as a reason he did not even entertain that trip to New York or think anymore about the XFL, something he says was “definitely a possibility.”

“I know the system pretty well,” he said. “I only missed a week. I don’t think they put too many plays in while I was gone. I’m excited to be back in Pittsburgh and around the guys.”

Hodges is 6-foot-1 and played at a small school and that, likely, is what got him overlooked. He will now be used in a role of the scout team quarterback, tasked with helping give the defense looks and simulating the opposing quarterback, starting with Seattle’s Russell Wilson this week.

Ultimately, he views this opportunity as another chance to show the NFL that he belongs. 

“Coming from a small school, undrafted, making the team from a rookie minicamp tryout and then making it to camp and given a competition, I don’t think anyone expected that.” 

Hear more from Devlin Hodges below.