Kenny Pickett Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett did not suit up for this week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks as Mason Rudolph got his second consecutive start and Mitchell Trubisky served as the team’s backup. But despite reports and suggestions claiming that Pickett refused to serve as the team’s backup, he claims that the decision was purely about his health – and he’s not happy at anyone claiming otherwise.

On Monday afternoon, Pittsburgh media personality Mark Madden made quite a surprising claim, saying that he was told Pickett “100 percent refused” to be the backup quarterback for Rudolph, and that is the reason why he was not dressed for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks.

“Just got told that Pickett 100 percent refused to be the backup. That the Steelers writers know that but won’t write it,” Madden wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

Madden was not alone in suggesting this, either. During an appearance on The Fan Morning Show on Monday, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic implied the same thing, though he acknowledged that he couldn’t totally confirm it, saying if he could, the report would be “on The Athletic website right now.”

“I’m very, very highly skeptical that it was 100 percent Mike Tomlin’s decision that Kenny Pickett did not dress yesterday,” Kaboly said on the show, via Yahoo Sports.

On Tuesday, Pickett firmly refuted these reports which he saw as an attack on his character. The quarterback claimed that the reason he did not serve as the team’s backup quarterback on Sunday was because he had not been medically cleared, not because he refused to be the backup for Rudolph.

“I saw reports out there that I felt like were attacking my character and how I am as a person,” Pickett told reporters in the Steelers’ locker room today, via Pro Football Talk. “There was no talk of me being a backup quarterback this week in terms of being a 2. If I was healthy enough to play, if the trainers and coaches felt I looked good enough to play, I was going to start and play. If they believe I was not, which they believed I was not, I was not going to dress and suit up for the game. So whoever reported that, I don’t know where it started, it’s kind of crazy what people will write or put out there to try to prove their point or help their standpoint or their careers or what you guys do. I’m disappointed to see that without any proof or basis of it.”

Pickett said that this week, he has been cleared to return from his injury and he will serve as the team’s No. 2 quarterback behind Rudolph after head coach Mike Tomlin opted to leave Rudolph in the starting lineup following back-to-back wins.

“So this week I’m now the 2, they feel good four weeks out of the surgery for me to dress and be the 2, so I will be the 2 to be ready to go for Baltimore,” Pickett said. “If there’s any other questions about that, I feel like I answered it pretty good there, if there’s anything else, any Baltimore questions, we’re on to Baltimore.”

[Mark Madden, Pro Football Talk]