Mason Rudolph lay motionless on the field for several moments after receiving a big hit from the Baltimore Ravens' Earl Thomas during the third quarter in Pittsburgh.
Rudolph, who has been officially diagnosed with a concussion, was cleared to go home after visiting a local hospital, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Schefter added that Rudolph will be placed in the NFL's concussion protocol.
Rudolph, the Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger out with a season-ending injury, was able to leave the field with assistance after regaining consciousness. Despite scoring 10 points with backup quarterback Devlin Hodges under center, the Steelers fell to the visiting Ravens in overtime, 26-23.
Thomas, who received a 15-yard penalty for his hit on Rudolph but was not ejected from the game, was asked about Rudolph and the hit afterward.
"I didn't think much of it," Thomas said, via Ravens beat reporter Bo Smolka. "I'm just trying to get to the ball, make a play for my team. I hit the strike zone [just] like we talk about. I didn't go high. I didn't intentionally hurt him. I'm worried about him ... I never try to hurt anybody. I was just going and flying to the ball like I normally do. I was asking the ref what happened. They said part of my helmet kind of hit him in the chin and that's what caused the flag ... It wasn't intentional on my part."
While Thomas, a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, tried to justify his hit on Rudolph, Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson started his postgame press conference by sending his thoughts to Rudolph, a fellow member of the 2018 draft class.
"First and foremost, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to Mason Rudolph," said Jackson, who led the Ravens to victory despite throwing three interceptions. "My draft partner. I just hope he's doing good."
Rudolph was finding his rhythm before sustaining the hit from Thomas. After a slow start, Rudolph went 13-of-20 for 131 yards that included a 35-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster that got Pittsburgh on the board. He completed a 25-yard completion to wideout James Washington on the play that he sustained his concussion. Rudolph was coming off Pittsburgh's 27-3 win over Cincinnati on Monday night that saw him go 24-of-28 for 229 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Several Steelers took to Twitter to wish Rudolph well shortly after the game.
October 6, 2019
Praying for you bro! 🙏🏾@Rudolph2Mason— Mike Hilton (@MikeHilton_28) October 6, 2019
Hodges, an undrafted rookie, played well in relief duty, going 7-of-9 for 68 yards while directing Pittsburgh's offense on two scoring drives. Hodges appeared to be on his way to leading a game-winning drive in overtime before his 10-yard completion to Smith-Schuster was forced and recovered by Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey, whose big play set up Justin Tucker's game-winning field goal.
"He represented himself well," Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said of Hodges' performance. "He gave us a chance. You have to tip your cap to him. He has done some good things every step of the way when given the opportunity, that is why he is in the position he is in."
Expect Tomlin to offer an update on Rudolph's status during his weekly Tuesday press conference. Pittsburgh (1-4) will head to West Coast next Sunday to take on the Los Angeles Chargers.