Mitch Trubisky voted a Pittsburgh Steelers captain, listed as starting QB on depth chart

PITTSBURGH -- What has long been telegraphed is now official: Mitch Trubisky is the Pittsburgh Steelers' starting quarterback for the season opener at the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

Trubisky, who was named a team captain on Monday, is listed as the first-string quarterback on the team's first official depth chart, landing the job over first-round draft pick Kenny Pickett and longtime Steelers backup Mason Rudolph.

Rudolph was listed as the second-team quarterback and Pickett was the third-team QB on the depth chart released Monday, but on Tuesday it was adjusted to make Pickett the second-team quarterback and Rudolph No. 3.

"All three quarterbacks have just been great, if I'm being honest, but Mitch is the guy we're riding with," defensive captain Cameron Heyward said Monday.

A veteran signed to a two-year, $14.2 million contract in free agency, Trubisky was the favorite in a three-man race entering training camp. A former No. 2 overall pick by the Chicago Bears in 2016, Trubisky arrived in Pittsburgh after a year as Josh Allen's backup with the Buffalo Bills.

He started all three preseason games this year and completed 24 of 34 attempts for 283 yards and two touchdowns. He seemingly sealed the starting job in the final preseason game when he played the entire first half and closed the second quarter with an efficient 1-minute, 20-second touchdown drive, completing all six attempts for 83 yards.

Trubisky, 28, was voted one of five team captains along with running back Najee Harris, Heyward, linebacker T.J. Watt and safety/special-teamer Miles Killebrew.

"It's a tremendous honor," Trubisky said of being named a captain. "Anytime you're voted by your peers and your teammates, it obviously means a lot. I just come in here, try to lead by example, earn the trust of my teammates, and for them to vote me captain, it definitely means a lot."

Coach Mike Tomlin was expected to announce the Week 1 starter on Tuesday, but the official depth chart came out Monday afternoon before Tomlin's news conference. Before the depth chart came out, Trubisky didn't reveal his coach's plan -- even if the captainship seemed to suggest the direction Tomlin was leaning.

"You can assume anything you want," Trubisky said. "I mean, nah, the announcement will come out when it needs to come out, but you're not gonna hear from me. And we just go about our business."

Trubisky said the last time he was a season-long team captain was during his collegiate career at North Carolina.

"It's just me being myself," Trubisky said. "It's just something that comes along with the quarterback position. You're leading the offense, you're leading by example and, but you wanna lead the whole team as well, special teams and defense. You just wanna be that guy, day in and day out, that guys can look to and be, be like, 'Hey, if I do it the way this guy does it, we're gonna be heading in the right direction.' And I just try to do that every day and be consistent."

Since signing with the Steelers early in free agency, Trubisky has displayed leadership qualities on and off the field. Before training camp, Trubisky invited many members of the offense to his house in Florida for an offseason training and bonding weekend.

"Him opening his home up to us and stuff like that," tight end Pat Freiermuth said, "it kind of had us believe in him."

Trubisky isn't the only captain to go the extra mile in the offseason. Harris impressed the quarterback when he flew in to visit him after Trubisky signed a two-year deal with the Steelers in March.

"He came in ... to talk about like what we're going to do this year and just be a great teammate," Trubisky said of Harris. "He was there for me from day one. And to me, those are the little things that people don't see that leaders do on a day-to-day basis. Having those relationships that go deeper with, beyond with your teammates, that's why he is who he is."

Harris and Killebrew are first-time team captains, while Heyward has been a captain for eight consecutive years. Watt is a captain for the second time in his career after earning the honor for the 2020 season.