Getty Images

It wasn't always easy, but in the end, Mason Rudolph left the Steelers and Pittsburgh on good terms. 

The veteran quarterback, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans, shared his appreciation for his experience with the Steelers in a pseudo goodbye post on Instagram. 

"For the past six years, it has been a privilege to be part of the Pittsburgh community and represent the Pittsburgh Steelers," Rudolph wrote. "To my teammates, coaches, staff, Art Rooney, the Rooney family, Thomas Tull, Larry Paul, and the rest of the Steelers organization: Thank you for changing my life forever six years ago when you gave me the opportunity to wear the Black & Gold.  

"To the fans—your love and passion for the team is what makes it so special to play here. I will never forget playing in front of Yinz one final time this past December. All the Best." 

Rudolph's time in Pittsburgh was certainly a roller coaster. He wasn't warmly embraced by Ben Roethlisberger after being drafted by the Steelers in the third round back in 2018. He was hurried into action when Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury two weeks into the 2019 season. 

Rudolph played well, but he was never the same that season after suffering a nasty concussion in a loss to the Ravens. Still, Rudolph went 5-3 as a starter that season while helping the Steelers get to within a game of the playoffs. 

For the next three seasons, Rudolph barely saw any playing time. He made two starts from 2020-22, with the Steelers going 0-1-1 in those games. The tie -- which came against the previously winless Lions in 2021 -- seemed to support Rudolph's critics who didn't think he was capable of developing into a starting NFL quarterback. 

Rudolph had to wait, but he finally got retribution this past season, when he won each of his three regular-season starts while leading the Steelers to a playoff berth. He then became the first Steelers quarterback not named Roethlisberger to start in a playoff game since 2002. 

It was at this time when Steelers fans seemed to change their opinions toward Rudolph. Boos were replaced by cheers. In fact, Steelers fans chanted Rudolph's name several times during Pittsburgh's Dec. 23 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, a win that saw Rudolph throw for 290 yards and two touchdowns in what was perhaps his best NFL game to date. 

That ultimately proved to be Rudolph's final home game in Pittsburgh, as he signed with the Titans in free agency after the Steelers decide to revamp their quarterback room with Russell Wilson and Justin Fields

While he did not become Roethlisberger's successor, Rudolph still gained something valuable during his time in Pittsburgh: respect and appreciation from the city and fan base.