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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.”

Steelers

Terrell Edmunds Explains New Nickname

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Terrell Edmunds informs the media, including Mike Asti and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about his new nickname. Call him “Old Fashioned” from now on. He also expresses how feels about the current state of the Steelers, and that’s obviously includes being happy about the team’s record but also understanding the need to improve.

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Steelers

Steelers Week 10 Game vs. Bengals Flexed to 4:25 p.m. National Broadcast

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The Steelers game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 has been flexed into a national television broadcast slot.

The Steelers and Bengals will now kick off at Heinz Field on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4:25 p.m. The game had originally been scheduled to kick at 1 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on FOX. All of that weekend’s early games will be broadcast on FOX, as CBS has coverage of The Masters, which was rescheduled from this summer.

The game will be Pittsburgh’s first matchup against 2020 NFL Draft No. 1 pick, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

The Steelers are also playing a 4:25 p.m., nationally broadcast game in Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. That game will be televised by CBS.

That will be the second time this season the Steelers will be placed in a nation-wide television slot. The team opened the season playing on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the New York Giants.

The Steelers’ Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans was protected by CBS in a 1 p.m. time slot, but was broadcast nearly nationwide, with CBS only showing two other 1 p.m. games.

The Steelers will play on national television at least three more times this season: against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Nov. 26, on Sunday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 13 and at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 21.

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What Does Being NFL’s Last Unbeaten Team Portend for Steelers?

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The Steelers are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL after beating the formerly unbeaten Tennessee Titans on Sunday while the Seattle Seahawks lost on Sunday night, leaving the Steelers as the only 6-0 team in the nation.

What does that mean for them in the long term? Not as much as you might think.

In the last 20 years, one of the last undefeated teams didn’t even make the playoffs three times: 2002 4-0 San Diego Chargers, 2014 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2016 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Ten other times, one of the last undefeated teams (some years, there are more than one), lost in the first or second round of the NFL playoffs.

Just once since 2000 has the last undefeated team won the Super Bowl, in 2006 when the Indianapolis Colts started 9-0 on the way to winning Super Bowl XLI.

In the first three decades of the league’s modern era, that was significantly different. The last undefeated team won six Super Bowls in the 1990s, two in the 1980s and three in the 1970s, including the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who finished a perfect 17-0, the only team in NFL history to do so.

More recently, being the last undefeated team has resulted in a bunch of Super Bowl losses, including the last time the Steelers were the league’s last unbeaten team. 

The 2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Eagles, 2007 New England Patriots, 2009 Colts, 2010 Steelers, 2015 Carolina Panthers, 2018 Los Angeles Rams and the 2019 San Francisco 49ers all made it to the championship game after being the last undefeated team before losing in the end.

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