Earl Thomas Didn't Try to Intentionally Hurt Mason Rudolph, 'Worried About Him'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2019

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06:  Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is injured on the play between Earl Thomas #29 and Brandon Carr #24 of the Baltimore Ravens on October 6, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas addressed the hit that forced Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to exit Sunday's game in the third quarter.

"I didn't go high. I didn't intentionally try to hurt him," Thomas said, per The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec. "I'm worried about him. I heard he's at the hospital. My prayers go out to him and his family. I've never tried to hurt anybody. At the end of the day, guys have families."

The Steelers confirmed Rudolph suffered a concussion and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.

After Rudolph released the ball on a throw to James Washington, Thomas' helmet hit him on the left side of his jaw. He appeared to be out as his head hit the turf.

The second-year passer remained motionless on the ground as Steelers trainers quickly tended to him. He was eventually able to sit up and return to his feet before heading back to the locker room.

Although Thomas was assessed a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer, many argued that didn't go far enough given the hit.

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Devlin Hodges finished the game at quarterback, going 7-of-9 for 68 yards as the Steelers fell 26-23 to Baltimore in overtime.

At the very least, Thomas is likely facing a $28,075 fine, which is the standard punishment for a first offense of "impermissible use of the helmet."

The NFL suspended Vontaze Burfict for the rest of the season following a helmet-to-helmet hit, but the league justified his lengthy ban by citing his numerous past fines and suspensions.

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