EM – Ex-Steelers quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges is ‘Migration North’


Justin Berl / Getty Images

Devlin Hodges of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs onto the field during the introductions before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on December 1, 2019.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges worked for several NFL teams after he was released by the Los Angeles Rams in August, including the New England Patriots. But on Thursday he decided to bring his talents to a new league and country. According to the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Redblacks, he has signed a contract that will keep him in the CFL for the next three years.

Usually ducks move south around this time! But I think there are always a few exceptions! Grateful for the opportunity! Thank you God! https://t.co/HaGkYSp7av

Hodges has been trying to find a new NFL home since the Steelers let his contract with the practice team expire in January. It wasn’t long before he got another opportunity when Los Angeles signed him to a one-year Reserve / Future contract within weeks of tweeting a touching goodbye to Pittsburgh. But he was lifted and unclaimed during the Rams’ second round of cuts in late August, prompting him to do trial workouts with the likes of the New York Giants and the aforementioned Patriots.

If Hodges never returns to the professional success he saw with the Steelers in 2019, at least he can say he had the chance to live his NFL dream. Injuries and ineffectiveness that season allowed him to appear in eight games (with six starts), set a 3-3 record, and play well enough to inspire a brief spell of “Duck Mania” in Pittsburgh.

It was more NFL success than anyone could rightly expect as he wasn’t even a priority free agent after graduating from Samford University in Alabama in the spring of 2019. In fact, he got on the 90-man list for just $ 1,000 after impressing at a spring rehearsal.

But in 2020 he was a forgotten man as he spent the whole year on the Pittsburgh training team without appearing in a game. So much so that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger forgot to mention his name when he talked about the team’s QBs ahead of last season’s wildcard game against Cleveland, an oversight Hodges responded with a humorous tweet.

Assuming his NFL career is indeed over forever, the former world duck calling champion finished with 100 completions in 160 tries for 1,063 yards, with five touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 71.4 passer Valuation. He also passed college for 14,584 yards, breaking Steve McNair’s FCS record for most yards of career, a mark the former Alcorn State product set between 1991 and 94.

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Hodges isn’t the only former Steelers player to sign with a CFL team this year. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant signed a deal with the Toronto Argonauts in January but was suspended from the organization in July when passport issues prevented him from reporting to training camp. (He remains on the banned list today.) Then in April the Redblacks signed former Steelers security shamarko Thomas, even though he is no longer with the organization. Finally, in June, former Steelers quarterback Paxton Lynch signed a deal with the Saskatchewan Roughridgers, the same organization that employs former Steelers defenseman Keion Adams and former Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates. Lynch is currently on the team’s injured list and Coates is on the organization’s banned list.

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