PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph remains in the NFL concussion protocol, but he is nearing a full return to health, and will be the team’s starter when that happens, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Wednesday.
Tomlin was asked directly if Rudolph will be the starter over Devlin Hodges once he returns from his injury, and he gave a no-nonsense response.
“That guy is our quarterback when he clears the protocol and it’s as simple as that,” Tomlin said. “I appreciate the efforts of Duck and so forth, but as soon as he’s ready to go, he’s ready to go.”
The Steelers canceled practice on Wednesday, but if they had participated, Tomlin said Rudolph was expected to be a full participant. The team will have the rest of the week off for their bye, so Rudolph’s next chance at practicing will come next week.
“Really, there’s no extreme urgency in terms of getting him out of the protocol because we don’t work again until Monday,” Tomlin said. “He’s been fully cleared to participate in things that we’ve been doing. … It’s probably semantics in terms of him getting clearance.”
Rudolph was a limited participant in practice in the week leading up to the Steelers’ Week 6 win over the Chargers and even traveled with the team to Los Angeles.
He suffered a concussion that required hospitalization in the Steelers’ Week 5 game against the Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 6.
Hodges played fairly well in Rudolph’s absence, completing 22 of 29 for 200 yards, one touchdown and one interception and a 91.2 passer rating, prompting some to suggest that Hodges should start a week from Monday against the Miami Dolphins.
But Tomlin quickly put that to bed on Tuesday, while also praising Hodges’ play.
“He didn’t kill us,” Tomlin said. “That’s what you need from young quarterbacks.”
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/18/20
James Conner tested out his injured ankle and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw passes to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Chase Claypool during practice on Friday, September 18, 2020.
This practice was in preparation for the Steelers week 2 game on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Cam Heyward Named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward has been named NFLPA Community MVP for Week 1.
Heyward was honored for installing his first Little Free Library, a book-sharing box placed in underserved communities around the Pittsburgh area.
Congrats to @camheyward on being named Week 1 #CommunityMVP for installing his first Little Free Library. The book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to literacy for underserved Pittsburgh communities while honoring the legacy in education of his late grandfather. pic.twitter.com/uKwbnz28A1— NFLPA (@NFLPA) September 18, 2020
Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that “inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.”
The installation of the book-sharing boxes marks the launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Project, a new initiative of the Cameron Heyward Foundation that will work to promote children’s literacy and honor his late grandparents, both of whom were lifelong educators in Pittsburgh.
Drafted in first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward has spend his entire career in Pittsburgh. He is a three-time Pro Bowler, and has twice received First-Team All-Pro honors.
Heyward and the Steelers agreed to a four-year, $71.4 million contract extension on Sept. 6 that will allow him to retire in Pittsburgh and make him the highest-paid defense player over the age of 30 in NFL history.
Highlights from Steelers Practice 9/17/20
The Steelers finally experienced a practice with almost everyone on the roster able to take the field. Only two players did not take part in practice before their week 2 game against Denver.
Alex Highsmith and Minkah Fitzpatrick stood out from the rest on Thursday, September 17, 2020.