Devlin Hodges Didn't Think 'Duck' Would Stick, but He's Glad It Did

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- Devlin 'Duck' Hodges has taken Pittsburgh by storm over the last week and a half, turning the former third-string quarterback into a local superstar amongst the fans. For Hodges, the new fame is something he's experienced throughout his career but never to this scale. A small-school player out of Samford, Hodges didn't expect to receive so much attention, but he's enjoying life as 'Duck'. 

It wasn't always something Hodges expected, though. When he started hearing the nickname, there was a thought that it wasn't fit for a quarterback. Now that it's real, he's excited it stuck. 

"If you're going to ask me like five or six years ago when I first got the game, I'd be like 'this is wild, a quarterback named Duck' but now it's cool, it's something that's caught on and something that I've kind of embraced," Hodges said. "It's awesome to hear the fans come up and be like 'hey, hey Duck what's up?' 'Duck what you up to?' If someone calls me Devlin it kind of catches me by surprise, like 'do you know me? Do you know me that good?' It's cool, it's unique and kind of just fits who I am." 

'Duck' is something that comes from who Hodges has always been. One of the most confident and outgoing players in Pittsburgh, the undrafted rookie looks at his role on the Steelers as both serious and laid back. 

As the leader of this offense, Hodges does have a role to maintain within the city and the locker room. But Duck is who is he is, and when it comes to football he's always looked at it the same. 

"It just goes back to being who I am, being the person who I am. I'm a laid back guy, I have to come in each and every day and be prepared and have fun," Hodges said. "This is football, this is my job, but at the same time there's a good balance you can have between having fun and being prepared and ready for the game."

Week 13 at Heinz Field wasn't the first time Hodges saw the Duck fans come alive. He remembered seeing people in Los Angeles dress in duck gear, but nothing compared to what happened in Pittsburgh. 

"It's pretty cool. Even when I went out to LA for the Chargers game, there was a couple guys there that had some kind of Duck stuff on, so I kind of expected it coming back to Heinz Field," Hodges said. "But like you said, it's cool, it's unique. It's something I can kind of sit back and smile at and laugh at." 

The nickname didn't start in Pittsburgh, but it's certainly expanded. Hodges mentioned that Samford did refer to their quarterback as Duck, but with the Steelers, that role as grown exponentially - because of the size of the audience, of course. 

"For the most part I'd say the Steelers called me Duck more than Devlin," Hodges said. "It's a little different, Samford's a little different atmosphere. We played in front of 8,000, 10,000 maybe, and I'm playing a little bit bigger crowd now. But there are always similarities."