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Ravens’ Earl Thomas: “I’m Worried About” Concussed Steelers QB Mason Rudolph

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PITTSBURGH — Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph’s status is still largely unknown on Sunday night after he left the Steelers’ 26-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens with a terrifying head injury.

While scrambling to complete a pass, Rudolph was sandwiched in between Ravens defenders and the helmet of safety Earl Thomas connected with Rudolph’s jaw. He appeared to be unconscious as he flopped to the turf and frantic Steelers offensive linemen called for trainers to check on Rudolph’s status.

He eventually came to and walked off the field under his own power. Rudolph walked off the field after the Steelers’ medical cart had an issue and had to be pushed off the field. Rudolph was diagnosed with a concussion and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin declined to give a more elaborative update on Rudolph’s health and did not answer a question about why Rudolph was allowed to walk off the field.

Thomas was conciliatory and said that he wasn’t trying to hit Rudolph high.

“I didn’t try to intentionally hurt him,” Thomas said. “I’m worried about him. I heard he’s at the hospital. My prayers go out to him and his family. I’m never trying to hurt anybody. At the end of the day, guys have families. So I’d never try to intentionally hurt him. I was just going and flying to the ball like I normally do.”

Thomas was flagged for a personal foul for roughing the passer and according to Fox NFL officiating expert Dean Blandino, he could potentially face a fine.

“From what I saw, Earl was closing and Mason was going forward and [Brandon Carr] was going to make the tackle, and gets him right in the chin,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said. “Kind of like a boxing deal. Absolutely certain, he wasn’t trying to hit him in the head. It’s fast and he’s closing and Mason is running and he’s not going down, throwing the ball. So, that’s what happened with what I saw.”

The Steelers plan to provide an update on Rudolph’s status on Tuesday, when Tomlin again speaks with the media. Rudolph was replaced by undrafted rookie third-stringer Devlin Hodges.

Steelers

Report: Steelers QB Coach Matt Canada Tested Positive for COVID-19

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Steelers quarterbacks coach Matt Canada has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network.

The Steelers announced earlier on Saturday that Canada, along with special teams coordinator Danny Smith, will not coach in the team’s game against the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday due to illnesses.

Kinkhabwala reported that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is not considered a close contact of Canada’s and will not have to isolate for five days, as he did when tight end Vance McDonald tested positive earlier this season.

Smith has also tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Steelers announced that assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart will replace Smith. They did not announce a replacement for Canada.

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Steelers

Matt Canada, Danny Smith Will Not Coach for Steelers vs. Ravens

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Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith and quarterbacks coach Matt Canada will not participate in the team’s game Tuesday night against the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced on Saturday.

The Steelers said both coaches will not participate due to illness. Smith has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report by the Post-Gazette.

Smith will be replaced by assistant wide receivers coach Blaine Stewart, the team announced. The club did not announced a direct replacement for Canada.

The team has not had any coaches miss any games this season due to COVID-19 issues.

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Reports: Steelers RB James Conner, Coach Danny Smith Test Positive for COVID-19

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Steelers running back James Conner and special teams coordinator Danny Smith have tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports by Adam Schefter of ESPN, Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network and Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette.

Conner, the Steelers’ starting running back, is a cancer survivor. Smith, 67 is in his eighth season with the Steelers and 25th as an NFL coach.

The news comes on the heels of the team placing three players — defensive linemen Isaiah Buggs and Stephon Tuitt and tackle Jerald Hawkins — on the COVID-19 reserve list on Friday.

Tracing for close contacts is underway. Schefter reported that Conner has multiple close contacts that will have to be isolated from the team.

With the Steelers scheduled to play the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Tuesday, Conner, the three players placed on the COVID-19 list on Friday and all additional positive cases and close contacts will miss the game.

Conner will likely be replaced by second-year backup Benny Snell. Chris Wormley and Henry Mondeaux will fill in for Tuitt and Buggs on the defensive line, if available. Derwin Gray will be elevated to the top backup at tackle without Hawkins.

The Steelers did not practice on Friday and are not scheduled to practice on Saturday. They are scheduled to return to practice on Sunday.

The Steelers previously had guard Kevin Dotson on the COVID-19 reserve list, while tight end Vance McDonald came off the list this week after missing one game.

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