2019 South Side Questions: Does Mason Rudolph’s Conduct Merit A Fine?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, in which they entered with big aspirations, in spite of a tumultuous start to the offseason. Significant players were lost via trade and free agency, players who have helped shape the course of the franchise in recent years. We even now sit here without Ben Roethlisberger after just two games.

The team made some bold moves this offseason and in some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago. That would especially be the case at wide receiver and inside linebacker, where they have new starters. And quarterback was suddenly added to that list.

How will the season progress without Roethlisberger, behind Mason Rudolph? How will the young players advance into their expected roles? Will the new coaches be up to the task? Who is looking good in games? Who is sitting out due to injury?

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Did Mason Rudolph deserve to be fined, from a league perspective?

We are still sorting through the aftermath of the assault by Myles Garrett on Mason Rudlph during Thursday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns. The big hits are out of the way. Garrett is suspended indefinitely, through at least the remainder of the 2019 season, and needs to be reinstated before he can play again. Maurkice Pouncey was suspended for three games for punching and kicking Garrett. Larry Obunjobi was suspended one game for blindsiding Rudolph with a shove after the assault.

A lot more is coming though, even if only in the form of fines. It has already been reported that among those who will be fined for their conduct during the skirmish will be Rudolph himself, so let’s wind back exactly what happened.

Fourth quarter, 14, seconds remaining. It’s third and 29 from the Steelers’ 17, in a 21-7 game. Garrett rushes from the left side. Rudolph releases the ball as Garrett is coming in for the hit and follows through, ultimately wrestling him to the ground a few seconds later.

At that point, the replay appears to show Rudolph likely making an attempt to dislodge Garrett’s helmet from his head while on his back and the defender still on top of him, succeeding most of the way, but I believe the chinstrap hooks.

At that point, Garrett grabs Rudolph and pulls him up off the ground by the facemask and rips his helmet off. Rudolph regathers himself and gets up and runs in Garrett’s direction to confront him while Pouncey and David DeCastro were attempting to de-escalate the situation, at which point the assault occurs.

Does attempting to dislodge a player’s helmet and yet failing, and then participating in re-escalating a bad situation by getting up and trying to confront somebody, merit a fine? According to the league, it did. Are they appropriately covering the necessary ground, or is this an overreaction?

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