Steelers ready to re-install Mason Rudolph as their starting QB

PITTSBURGH -- No longer in the concussion protocol, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph will fully return to action and resume his role as the team's starter following a Week 7 bye.

Prior to Rudolph's official clearance by an independent neurologist Wednesday afternoon, coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Rudolph would be QB1 as soon as he was able.

"That guy is our quarterback when he clears the protocol," Tomlin said earlier in the day. "It's as simple as that. Appreciate the efforts of Duck [Devlin Hodges], but as soon as he's ready to go, he's ready to go."

Rudolph entered the concussion protocol after being knocked out against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5 when safety Earl Thomas hit him high, Thomas' helmet making contact with Rudolph's chin.

Because the team is mostly off this week, there wasn't a rush to clear Rudolph with an evaluation from an independent neurologist.

"There's no extreme urgency in terms of getting him out of the protocol because we don't work again until Monday," Tomlin said earlier Wednesday. "He's been fully cleared to participate in the things we've been doing."

Though he was in the protocol, Rudolph was a limited participant in practice last week, and Tomlin said he would've been a full participant in Wednesday's practice if it hadn't been canceled.

Rudolph traveled to Los Angeles for the Sunday night game against the Chargers but was inactive. In his place, Hodges got his first career NFL start -- and victory.

"He didn't kill us," Tomlin said of Hodges. "And that's what you need from young quarterbacks. In general, he took care of the ball. He made plays he needed to make.

"But we were thoughtful about the positions we put him in. We converted three or four possession downs via the run. Many others we dumped off in the flat and allowed James Conner to win them after the catch. We did the things we needed to do to secure victory in that instance."