Ready to 'move on,' QB Mason Rudolph feels 'great'

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Staggered and stunned, Mason Rudolph provided a concerning image when he was last seen on a football field.

A Week 5 Steelers loss to the Ravens ended early for the Pittsburgh quarterback when he suffered a scary hit from Baltimore safety Earl Thomas, the latter's helmet striking Rudolph in the jaw.

Week 8 and a game against the winless Dolphins is now on deck, though, and Rudolph is raring to go after receiving clearance from concussion protocol during the Steelers' bye week.

"I feel great," said Rudolph, via Teresa Varley of the team website. "Checked all of the boxes with the protocol situation."

Rudolph said the effects of the concussion, which stemmed from a hit by Ravens linebacker Earl Thomas in Week 5, weren't lingering, and he felt "fine" by the next morning.

According to Rudolph, he's felt great for a while, adding if it was up to him, he would have taken the field against the Chargers in Week 6.

"Started feeling pretty good the next day, and carried out all of the testing, physically, and then the mental stuff on the computer," he said. "I'm a competitor. I like to feel like I know my body, but the thought process from specialists was if you take a lesser hit, you could be out for longer.

"Just more vulnerable was the opinion of the specialists, so I really didn't have a choice. I wanted to. I think I'll look back on this 10 years down the road and I'll be glad that I did sit out for a week, but I was not happy.

"It was frustrating to have to sit out when I felt pretty close to normal, pretty fine. It was the best thing for my long-term health. We've got a lot of specialists here, so I complied with their thoughts."

In the aftermath of the hit, Thomas reached out to Rudolph and the quarterback said he reached back out in return. He's also taken a look at the tape.

"I watched it," he said. "It was a freak thing the way he hit my jaw."

The freak hit was in Week 5 and Rudolph isn't looking back; he's looking forward with the anticipation of starting against Miami.

"You can't play looking over your shoulder," said Rudolph. "I'm not going to think twice about it. I'm going to go play the game that I've always played with aggressiveness, and if I need to extend the play, that's what's going to happen. I'm not going to think twice about worrying about getting hit in the right spot. That's just the luck of the draw. It happens. A freak thing and I'm going to move on from it."

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