Rudolph appeared to lose conscious after a direct hit to the head by Thomas before his head bounced off the ground at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva checked for vital signs by putting his hands on Rudolph’s chest then motioned to athletic trainers on the sideline. Though mostly still, Rudolph’s legs moved periodically as trainers unsnapped his facemask from the front of his helmet.
Mason Rudolph knocked out on this hit. No flag. pic.twitter.com/zjs92AI904— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) October 6, 2019
After about 4 minutes, Rudolph rose to his feet. A cart and stretcher were brought out, but he did not leave on the cart due to an operator error. Lineman Zach Banner and B.J. Finney came from the bench and helped Rudolph walk off the field with the quarterback’s arms draped around each of their necks.
“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.”
Prior to the hit, Rudolph was 13 of 20 for 131 passing yards and a 35-yard touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster in only his third start. Delvin Hodges, the Steelers’ third-string quarterback, replaced Rudolph.