SteelerNation.com

Mason Rudolph Suffers Concussion And Walks Off The Field…

By Jessica Costello
SteelerNation.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Mason Rudolph, was focused on moving the ball downfield to his favorite receiver in college as the 26-yard reception was made. The attention for James Washington‘s catch quickly shifted as Rudolph laid motionless about 30 yards behind the play.

Baltimore Ravens safety, Earl Thomas II, made a hard hit connecting with Rudolph’s helmet leading the quarterback into concussion protocol after coming off the field.

“I didn’t intentionally try to hurt him,” Thomas said. “I’m worried about him. I heard he’s at the hospital. My prayers go out to him and his family. I’ve never tried to hurt anybody. At the end of the day, guys have families.”

Frantic teammates running over to Rudolph after the hit, left tackle, Alejandro Villanueva, put his hands on his chest in a cursory check for vital signs, most of the guys signaling for the athletic trainers to come over.

“When he was on the ground, it looked like it was a lot more serious than just a simple hit,” Villanueva said. “I don’t like to get into details of his medical condition. You could tell he had been hit to the head and the only thing I could do was to wave the trainers down to the location.”

As the medical team rushed to the quarterback, his teammates surrounded him including wide receiver, Juju Smith-Schuster. The wide receiver seemed to have almost fainted as he came closer to Rudolph.

“I’ve heard of situations where the person’s not moving at all and they don’t get up,” Smith-Schuster said. “And I was just praying to God that he gets up, and he’s our quarterback and he’s our guy. I’m praying for a speedy recovery.”

While the medical team and teammates surrounded Rudolph, the cart to take him off the field was brought out. As Rudolph stood up after an extremely scary few minutes of being still, a roughing the passer call against Thomas was made.

“It’s a football play,” Thomas said. “It wasn’t dirty. He actually got sandwiched. B-Carr [Brandon Carr] came from behind, and I hit him from the side in the strike zone. I didn’t even see a flag initially. I think once they saw how serious it was, they were like, ‘Oh, let me throw this flag,’ which was understandable.”

Rudolph was helped off the field by linemen, Zach Banner and B.J. Finney. The cart that was originally brought out for him failed to work correctly as what was called an operating error.

The NFL later issued a statement clarifying why Rudolph didn’t exit on the cart.

“A cart was brought on the field in the event it was needed,” the league said in the statement. “After evaluating the player, medical staff determined a cart was not necessary in this instance. Had one been needed, there was a backup cart on the other sideline which was immediately available. He received appropriate medical care per gameday protocols, and is now in the concussion protocol.”

“By the time I was carrying him, he was responsive and talking and everything,” Finney said. “It’s a scary moment, but we’re glad he’s all right and that he’ll come back to us.”

Rudolph was then taken to a hospital for precautionary tests. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that Rudolph will be “OK,” and “so far, signs are good” according to a source. Fowler also said he is now home from the hospital.

After Rudolph’s injury, Samford quarterback Devlin Hodges took over the game, who was put on the 53-man roster after Roethlisberger’s injury.

Hodges completed 7 of 9 attempts for 68 yards and recorded the Steelers’ longest run of the game with a 21-yard scramble in the fourth quarter.

“Mason is my guy,” Hodges said. “I would say he is one of my closer friends on the team. He has really taken me in. You might see me on the sideline kind of just standing there, it wasn’t because I was freaking out about me going in, I was just thinking about Mason and what’s up with him and is he OK. After a minute, he was just lying there, he wasn’t even moving. That is just tough to look at.”

Let us know what you think in the comment section below on Sunday’s game, Steeler Nation!

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