Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges worked out for several NFL teams after getting released by the Los Angeles Rams in August, including the New England Patriots. But on Thursday he elected to take his talents to a new league and a new country. According to the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League, he has signed a contract that will keep him in the CFL for the next three years.
Devlin Hodges: Beloved Underdog
Hodges has been trying to find a new NFL home since the Steelers allowed his practice squad contract to expire back in January. It didn’t take him long to get another opportunity, as Los Angeles signed him to a one-year Reserve/Future contract within weeks of him tweeting a touching goodbye to Pittsburgh. But he was waived during the Rams’ second round of cuts in late August and went unclaimed, prompting him to pursue tryouts with the likes of the New York Giants and aforementioned Patriots.
If Hodges never again reaches the level of professional success he experienced with the Steelers in 2019, at least he can say he had a chance to live out his NFL dream. That season injuries and ineffectiveness allowed him to appear in eight games (with six starts), posting a 3-3 record and playing well enough to inspire a brief period of ‘Duck Mania’ in Pittsburgh.
It was more NFL success than anyone had a right to expect, as he wasn’t even a priority undrafted free agent after he came out of Alabama’s Samford University in the spring of 2019. In fact, he was signed to the 90-man roster for a mere $1,000 only after he impressed at a spring tryout.
But in 2020, he was a forgotten man, as he spent the entire year on Pittsburgh’s practice squad without appearing in a game. So much so that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger forgot to mention his name when speaking about the team’s QB’s prior to last season’s Wildcard game versus Cleveland, an oversight that Hodges took in stride, responding with a humorous tweet.
Assuming his NFL career is in fact over for good, the former duck calling world champion finishes with 100 completions in 160 attempts for 1,063 yards, with five touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 71.4 passer rating. He also passed for 14,584 yards in college, breaking Steve McNair’s FCS record for most career passing yards, a mark that the former Alcorn State product set between 1991-94.
Several Former Steelers Have Signed with CFL Teams This Year
Notably, Hodges isn’t the only former Steelers player to sign with a CFL team this year. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant inked a deal with the Toronto Argonauts in January but got suspended by the organization in July when passport issues kept him from reporting to training camp. (He remains on the suspended list today.)
Then in April the Redblacks signed former Steelers safety Shamarko Thomas, though he is no longer with the organization.
Finally, in June former Steelers quarterback Paxton Lynch inked a deal with the Saskatchewan Roughridgers, the same organization that employs former Steelers defender Keion Adams and ex-Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates. Lynch is currently on the team’s injured list and Coates is on the organization’s suspended list.
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