Mason Rudolph spoke to reporters for the first time since suffering his scary-looking concussion against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6th. To hear Rudolph tell it, the situation was much less frightening than how it appeared on the field. Now, he’s passed protocol and ready to jump back into the starting role Monday night.
“Probably the next morning, I felt fine,” Rudolph told the media Monday when asked how he felt after the hit. “I had a minor headache that night. Next morning, I started to really come back. Slept really great. Never had any symptoms like sensitivity to light. I’ve only had one concussion prior to in high school. Started feeling pretty good the next day. And like I said, carried all the testing physically and the mental stuff on the computer the following week.”
Rudolph worked in limited capacity leading up to the Chargers’ game, serving as the scout team quarterback as he worked through the protocol. But doctors were cautious and ultimately did not clear him in time for the contest. A recommendation Rudolph understands but was also frustrated by.
“I feel like that because I’m a competitor and I know my body.,” he said when asked if he felt ready to start against Los Angeles. “But the thought process from my specialists was that if you take a lesser hit, you could be out for longer, you could really damage [yourself]. I was just more vulnerable at that point was the opinion of the specialists. So I didn’t really have a choice. Obviously, I wanted to but I’ll look back at this ten years down the road and think it was smart and glad I sat out for a week. But I was not happy in the moment.”
Devlin Hodges ultimately got the nod, playing well enough in relief, and the Steelers secured a 24-17 victory. Rudolph did make the trip and was active on the sidelines, a chance for him to learn from a sideline perspective, something he hasn’t gotten to do since Ben Roethlisberger’s sudden, season-ending injury.
At the time, the fact Rudolph walked off the field was a point of contention but he told reporters he cleared all the necessary tests to leave without a cart. He did make it clear, however, that he didn’t specifically ask to walk off the field.
Transportation issues aside, the Steelers made the right decisions here. They were careful with Rudolph and played it safe even if they may have been able to give him the green light against LA. Opting against the risk allowed him to have the bye week to rest up even more and get ready for Miami’s game at unquestionably 100%.