Provocative Pittsburgh sports personality Mark Madden (105.9 The X, sports columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) takes any chance he gets to take a shot at former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges.
On Friday a Pittsburgh area sports fan teed him up when he asked Madden: “Who is the worst athlete in the history of Pittsburgh sports?”
Not surprisingly, Madden had a simple, two-word response: “Duck Hodges.”
Never mind that none of the replies expressed agreement with Madden. In fact, the name that most commonly came up was former Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Derek Bell. And only one former Steelers player was mentioned in the conversation, that being former second-round wide receiver Limas Sweed (who had no difficulty getting open in the NFL but simply couldn’t catch the ball, which is why he produced just seven receptions for 69 yards in 20 games before his career came to an end).
Regardless, Hodges couldn’t resist the urge to clap back at Madden.
“Here goes the bum himself mark madden again..”
Hodges’ Duck Hunting Podcast Sparked the Twitter Feud
Hodges uses the word “again” because his Twitter feud with Madden dates back to February of this year, when Madden had a savage response (“Oh, FFS”) to the news of Hodges — a champion duck caller — launching a duck hunting podcast. Things escalated quickly from there. After Hodges half-heartedly invited the Tribune-Review columnist to appear on the podcast, Madden replied:
“I know enough about football to know that you’re the worst QB ever to start for the Steelers.” Madden wrapped things up by wishing Hodges “Good luck with your amateur-hour pretend-celebrity drivel.”
Never mind that Hodges almost certainly isn’t the worst quarterback in Steelers history, much less the worst professional athlete in Pittsburgh sports history.
In fact, he played better than anyone had a right to expect, considering that he was an undrafted rookie out of Samford University who signed for $1,000 after a tryout in the spring of 2019.
Recall that he went on to appear in eight games for the Steelers that season and produced a 3-3 record as a starter, with consecutive wins over Philip Rivers’ Chargers, Baker Mayfield’s Browns and Kyler Murray’s Cardinals — three QBs who were selected at or near the top of the NFL Draft. During those eight games Hodges completed 62.5% of his passes and threw five touchdown passes against eight interceptions (for a 71.4 passer rating).
Devlin Hodges’ Post-Steelers Journey
Three years later, Hodges is out of football. After spending the 2020 season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad, he signed a Reserve/Futures contract with the Los Angeles Rams, but the Rams waived him prior to the start of the 2021 season.
Less than a month later, he “migrated north,” signing a three-year contract with the Ottawa Redblacks of the CFL. He appeared in two games with the Redblacks (with one start) before the CFL season came to an end. He announced his retirement from professional football on April 22, 2022.
As for Hodges’ duck hunting podcast, there have been four episodes since it debuted on March 19, 2022, with the most recent episode posted on July 18, 2022.