Earl Thomas: My Prayers Go Out to Mason Rudolph

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A scary moment in Sunday’s game happened midway through the third quarter when Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was knocked unconscious after a hit by safety Earl Thomas.

The veteran safety was charging toward Rudolph as the quarterback ran toward the line of scrimmage, and the two collided just after Rudolph let go of the football. Cornerback Brandon Carr was also giving chase to Rudolph before the hit.

The side of Thomas’ helmet hit Rudolph in the face mask, and the quarterback appeared to get knocked out instantly. His head then slammed into the turf as he went to the ground.

Thomas was flagged for roughing the passer on the play. After the game, he stressed that he had no intention of hurting Rudolph and that he’s concerned for him.

“I was just trying to get to the ball and make a play for my team,” Thomas said. “I hit the strike zone, I didn’t go high. I didn’t try to intentionally hurt him. I’m worried about him. I heard he’s at the hospital and my prayers go out to him and his family.

“But I’m never trying to hurt anybody. At the end of the day, guys have families. I would never try to intentionally hurt him. I was just trying to fly to the ball like I normally do.”

Rudolph was motionless on the field after the hit, and several of his teammates urgently signaled to the bench for medical assistance. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was so upset after seeing Rudolph laying on the turf that he also fell to the ground.

After several minutes of medical attention, Rudolph ultimately walked off the field with his arms around teammates for balance. The Steelers announced that he was diagnosed with a concussion and taken to a local hospital to be further evaluated.

“It was a weird sight,” Thomas said. “I quickly went over to his teammates and said, ‘Hey bro, I did not mean to do that. That wasn’t intentional at all, I’m just trying to make a football play.’”

Thomas was asked if he expected to get fined for the play.

“Hopefully not. It was a football play, it wasn’t dirty,” he said. “He actually got sandwiched. [Carr] came from behind and I got him in the strike zone. I didn’t see a flag initially, but I think once they saw how serious it was, they were like, ‘Let me throw this flag,’ which is understandable.”

Several Ravens players echoed Thomas’ concern for Rudolph. Quarterback Lamar Jackson and kicker Justin Tucker both opened their press conferences offering their support.

“First and foremost, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to Mason Rudolph, my draft partner,” Jackson said.

“You never want to see something like that happen out on a football field, but when it does, it really makes you put things in perspective,” Tucker said.

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