Inexcusable: Steelers' Mason Rudolph couldn't be carted off field

There was a scary, scary moment in the Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game on Sunday afternoon when Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was drilled on the chin by Ravens safety Earl Thomas and was immediately knocked out.

Rudolph fell to the ground and his head took another massive hit as it hit the turf.

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It was so upsetting that teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster was in tears on the field.

The medical staff brought out the cart for Rudolph, who was starting in place of Ben Roethlisberger, but after a few fearful moments he was almost inexplicably semi-carried off the field, still dazed, by teammates and Steelers staff.

Turns out, the medical cart was inoperable and had to be pushed off the field by more than a half-dozen people. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported that operator error was to blame.

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Mason Rudolph knocked unconscious on field
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is injured as he is tackled by 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)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers lays injured on the field against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers lays injured on the field against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers lays injured on the field against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Ramon Foster #73 and Alejandro Villanueva #78 check on Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers after being injured during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on October 6, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers lays injured on the field against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on as Mason Rudolph #2 (not pictured) lays injured on the field during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on October 6, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off the field against the Baltimore Ravens on October 6, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (78) and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard Ramon Foster (73) check on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) during the NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 06, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard B.J. Finney (67) and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner (72) help Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) off the field as Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) looks on shaken during the NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 06, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 06: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive guard B.J. Finney (67) and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner (72) help Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) off the field as Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) looks on shakenduring the NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 06, 2019 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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The NFL later released a statement claiming that a second cart was available to take Rudolph off the field, though that it wasn’t necessary to do so.

“A cart was brought on the field in the event it was needed,” the league said in a statement, via the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “After evaluating the player, medical staff determined a cart was not necessary in this instance. Had one been needed, there was a backup cart on the other sideline which was immediately available. He received appropriate medical care per gameday protocols, and is now in the concussion protocol.”

Are we serious? The Steelers as an organization are worth over $2 billion and couldn’t figure out how to get a medical cart working during a serious situation?

Beyond that, what the hell were medical staff thinking? Regardless of Rudolph telling teammates “I’m alright” as he went off, he clearly was not all right. Where was a stretcher? Where was a spine board? There’s an ambulance inside every stadium during games.

Hopefully the NFL Players Association, which is supposed to have the best interest of players at its central mission, raises a huge fuss over what just happened in Pittsburgh.

Rudolph missed the remainder of the game with a concussion and was later taken to a local hospital. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Rudolph was later released Sunday evening and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

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