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Healthy Mason Rudolph Ready to Resume Starting Role

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PITTSBURGH — Mason Rudolph wanted to play in the Steelers’ Week 6 game against the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday.

Rudolph said on Monday that he was feeling fine as soon as the morning after he suffered a concussion that requires hospitalization against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 6.

But he wasn’t cleared by the league’s independent neurological evaluator, meaning that Devlin Hodges got the start.

Even though he wanted to play and was upset that he was unable to, Rudolph said that he respected that the process is meant to protect him.

“I feel like that because I’m a competitor,” Rudolph said. “I like to feel like I know my body. The though process from the specialist was that if you take a lesser hit, you could be out for longer and you can really do damage. I was just more vulnerable at that point. That was the opinion of the specialist and I didn’t really have a choice. Obviously, I wanted to. I think I’ll look back at this probably 10 years down the road and I’ll probably be glad that I did sit out for a week. But I was not happy in the moment.”

That meant that Rudolph spent last Sunday with a headset on the sideline, which was actually a relatively new experience for him. He didn’t dress as the Steelers’ third-string quarterback for the entire 2018 season and spent just one and a half games as the backup this season before Ben Roethlisberger was injured.

Now with some games under his belt as the starter, Rudolph said he was able to appreciate the experience and learn from it, even though he really wanted to be in the game.

“I think any game that you’re on the sidelines, whether you’re playing in it or not is useful to see a new defense, to see a new look, to be in a different stadium,” he said. “The communication, kind of trying to help Randy with calls that I knew Devlin liked. You’re kind of the offensive coordinator at that point. You’re trying to educate yourself in put yourself in the offensive coordinator’s shoes.

“Obviously, I wanted to be out there, but the specialist said not and I respected that and tried to do our best to help our team in any capacity.”

Rudolph said he had one previous concussion in high school, and that he didn’t suffer any lasting symptoms this time after being knocked out on the field.

“Probably the next morning, I felt fine,” he said. “I had a minor headache that night. The next morning I started to really come back. I slept really great. Never had any real symptoms like sensitivity to light. I think I’ve only had one concussion prior to in high school. I started feeling pretty good the next day and like I said, carried out all the testing physically and the mental stuff.”

Rudolph was back to taking the first-team reps at practice on Monday as the Steelers prepare to face the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football in Week 8. He doesn’t expect any long-term issues to result from the hit, and he isn’t planning on changing the way he plays going forward.

“You can’t play looking over your shoulder,” he said. “I’m not going to think twice about it. I’m going to go play the way I’ve always played.”

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Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

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Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

Do you still believe in Zach Banner?

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Steelers

Zach Banner Announces Self-imposed Social Media Ban Until he Signs New Deal

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Zach Banner is sending a clear message about his priorities ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Banner, who is a free agent and looking for a new deal with the Steelers, tweeted that he is going to stay off social media until he officially signs on the dotted line.

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault. He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. Banner now hopes to return to Pittsburgh and be the missing piece the Steelers offensive line desperately needs.

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Steelers

Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp

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There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.

“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.

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