Steelers QB Mason Rudolph walks off field after being knocked unconscious by hit
Over his first 12½ quarters as the starting quarterback, Mason Rudolph came a long way in earning the respect of his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates.
“He’s our quarterback,” receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said. “He’s our guy.”
That, in part, is what made seeing Rudolph lying motionless on the Heinz Field turf for several minutes Sunday so difficult for the Steelers.
Three weeks after losing Ben Roethlisberger to a season-ending injury and about 22 months since witnessing Ryan Shazier’s spinal injury that left him temporarily paralyzed, the Steelers had some scary moments at the midway point of the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens.
“That’s a tough experience,” Smith-Schuster said. “I have been in situations where the person is not moving at all and doesn’t get up. I was just praying to God that he gets up.”
Hope Mason Rudolph is OK after this hit.
— Jordan Dajani (@JordanDajani) October 6, 2019
Rudolph, fortunately, did get up. With the aid of teammates, he walked to the sideline and, eventually, into their locker room.
The Steelers second-year quarterback was knocked out of his third NFL start with a concussion. After the game, the team had no other update.
“I think he will be all right, which is good news,” guard David DeCastro said. “But your stomach just dropped, you know what I mean? Just hope he turns out all right.”
Coach Mike Tomlin said he would update Rudolph’s condition during his Tuesday news conference. Rudolph will enter the NFL’s mandated concussion protocol.
His status for next week’s game at the Los Angeles Chargers is in doubt. But over the final 28 minutes after Rudolph absorbed the brutal hit from the Ravens’ Earl Thomas, the Steelers had no choice but to adjust to another new quarterback: undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges.
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) October 6, 2019
“First thing I thought was, ‘Is Mason OK?’ ” Hodges said. “Mason is my guy. I would say he is one of my closer friends on the team. He has really taken me in. That was just tough to look at.”
Rudolph was hit by Earl Thomas on a penalized helmet-to-helmet play after he had scrambled and hit James Washington with a first-down pass as Baltimore led 17-13.
Although stretchers and motorized carts came out and were ready to transport Rudolph, he stood on his own after several minutes of being attended to by medical and training personnel.
“When you see somebody lying lifeless like that, it kind of strikes a chord,” linebacker Bud Dupree said, “and any human being who cares about somebody in that type of situation will feel a certain way.
“We love Mason. I know I love Mason to the fullest.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .