Devlin Hodges better known as Duck has decided to call it a career. Despite being just 26 years old Hodges has decided to walk away from the game on his terms just three seasons removed from signing with the Steelers.
Devlin Hodges was born in Kimberly Alabama, a state known for its love of Crimson Tide football. He grew up surrounded by fans of the sport everywhere. Attending Mortimer Jordan High School named after a WWI war hero, he would make it to the varsity football team his sophomore season.
After graduating high school in 2014 he left with impressive stats. Completing 57.9% of his 518 passing attempts for 6,240 total yards, 53 total touchdowns, and 16 turnovers. However, what stuck out to me is the fact that Duck Hodges played defensive back to start his high school career. He collected 20 tackles, and 1 interception as a freshman.
He would go on to find a home with Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. After redshirting his freshman season, he would take control of the starting job. Playing in 9 games during his sophomore season he played well and it only got better from there.
He would go on to be a four-year starter for Samford. Graduating with over 14,000 career passing yards, and a nearly 3 to 1 touchdown to interception ratio. Hodges had shown he belonged at the professional level and it was his time to declare for the NFL draft in 2019.
During his pro-day, he put up impressive numbers including a 4.79 40-yard dash. He would go undrafted but land with the Steelers as a rookie. Hodges would ultimately be waived and end up on the practice squad. That was until injuries occurred ahead of him.
Just six days after being signed to the practice squad Big Ben was hurt and Hodges was called up as the back-up to Mason Rudolph. Less than a month later he got his first on-field action in the regular season. He completed 7 of 9 attempts for 68 yards and 20 yards rushing.
The following week he got his first start. By the end of the season, he had played eight games starting six of them. Following the 2019 season, I thought Hodges had a shot at being a more prominent player for the roster going forward. Spoiler alert…I was wrong.
Hodges did not appear in another NFL game for the Steelers, ultimately landing on the practice squad to finish out the 2020 season. After the season his contract expired and he signed a futures contract with the Los Angeles Rams but they cut him before the regular season.
Less than a month after being let go, Hodges had been signed by the Ottawa Redblacks, who needed quarterback help at the time. Despite making the move to the CFL seeing a chance to advance his career Hodges didn’t find the success he had hoped for in Ottawa.
In his debut against the Toronto Argonauts, he completed less than half his passes for 90 yards. The Redblacks went out in the 2022 offseason and addressed the position in a big way by signing Jeremiah Masoli. Masoli effectively took away the chance to compete for the starting job from Hodges and had him relegated back to the backup role.
This seems to have been the deciding factor in his ultimate retirement. I thought the former Alabama prospect, noted for his Duck Calling prowess, would try his hand at the USFL. Yet instead we see him hanging up his jersey and looking to his post-playing career. Where will we see Hodges land in his post-playing career? Could he see a future in coaching or broadcasting or do we see him fade away from football entirely
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