The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into a Week 6 showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers with their third string quarterback, Devlin Hodges, thanks to a high hit delivered by Baltimore Ravens’ safety Earl Thomas on quarterback Mason Rudolph.
In Week 5, the Steelers came into the divisional game vs. the Ravens with the thought Rudolph was just starting to settle in as the new starter of the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger out for the season after elbow surgery. He didn’t even get three quarters of the game in after Thomas’ hit left him unconscious on the Heinz Field turf. Thomas was flagged for the hit, and news broke Friday he also was fine $21,000 by the NFL for this hit.
This per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley:
Ravens safety Earl Thomas was fined $21,000 by NFL for his hit on Steelers QB Mason Rudolph. He will appeal it.
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) October 11, 2019
Rudolph did return to practice this week, and was a limited participant every day, but was ruled out considering he hasn’t been fully cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol. Now Hodges steps up and Paxton Lynch was promoted from the team’s practice squad to round out the depth chart on Sunday Night Football in Los Angeles.
Luckily for Rudolph, Week 7 is the team’s bye week and barring a huge setback he should be fully cleared to return to the team for their Week 8 contest against the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football.
According to Hensley, Thomas has reached out to Rudolph to let him know he had no ill intent for the play, but hasn’t heard back from Rudolph as of yet.
Thomas reached out to the second-year quarterback by calling him and texting him this week. Rudolph didn’t respond, according to Thomas.
”I wanted to him to know that I didn’t do it on purpose,” Thomas said. “That’s all I wanted him to know.”
The Steelers now prepare to travel across country to the west coast to play the 2-3 Chargers. If the Steelers can win this prime time game they would be able to gain some momentum leading into the bye week. Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold.