Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges is no longer a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he hasn’t forgotten the quarterback he replaced in Pittsburgh’s lineup. Earlier this week, Hodges posted a picture to Instagram in which he is wearing a No. 7 Ottawa Redblacks jersey, with the caption reading:
“Y’all know who else rocks #7
BIG BEN! Now DUCK!”
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It’s not entirely clear if Hodges will actually be wearing No. 7 for the Redblacks, as he hasn’t been added to the team’s active roster. But it does seem highly likely, as there is no No. 7 on Ottawa’s roster and No. 6 is already spoken for, as it’s currently being worn by defensive back Antoine Pruneau.
It’s also not clear how soon Hodges might see game action for the Redblacks, with whom he signed a three-year contract on September 16, 2021. But the way things are going for Ottawa’s quarterbacks, it could be sooner rather than later.
The Redblacks Are in the Midst of a ‘Bad Dream’
For starters, the Redblacks are in the midst of a season that the Ottawa Sun has described as a “bad dream.” And that was before a 27-16 loss to the Montreal Alouettes on Oct. 16, 2021, which dropped the Redblacks to a league-worst 2-8, including a winless record (0-5) in the CFL’s East Division.
All of Ottawa’s quarterbacks have struggled playing behind an offensive line that yielded 10 sacks in its most recent game. The three QB’s the team has started this season—Caleb Evans, Dominque Davis and Matt Nichols—have combined to throw just seven touchdown passes against 14 interceptions.
As for Evans, he got pulled in the fourth quarter of Ottawa’s October 16 loss. However, replacement Taryn Christion—who spent time on the Steelers’ practice squad in 2019, thanks to his ability to mimic Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson—fared no better, completing just two of six passes for 20 yards before he got hurt on a sack with 1:33 to go in the game.
Ottawa Redblacks Fans Have Been Calling for ‘Duck’
The woeful quarterback play helps explain why “some fans were calling for (Duck) to start,” even before he participated in his first Redblacks practice in late September, which came after he was in quarantine for a week.
“People need to lower their expectations,” Redblacks head coach Paul LaPolice said at the time, noting that it would probably take Hodges “2-3 weeks” to learn the team’s offensive system, a time period that has already lapsed.
If Hodges gets called into action, he’ll try to duplicate the early success he had with the Steelers after replacing an injured Ben Roethlisberger by way of injured/ineffective backup Mason Rudolph. In 2019 he appeared in eight Steelers games (with six starts), posting a 3-3 record and playing inspired enough football to foster a brief period of ‘Duck Mania’ in Pittsburgh.
That’s more NFL exposure than he probably ever envisioned, especially since he was signed to Pittsburgh’s 90-man roster for a mere $1,000 only after he impressed at a spring 2019 tryout.
Last year he spent the entire season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad. After the Steelers let his contract expire, Hodges tweeted his goodbye to Pittsburgh. Within weeks he signed a one-year Future/Reserve contract with the Rams. But he went unclaimed after Los Angeles waived him on August 23, 2021.
After tryouts with the New York Giants and New England Patriots failed to yield another NFL contract, he turned to the CFL.
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