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'He is our quarterback'

UPDATE: Mason Rudolph has been cleared and is now out of concussion protocol. He was cleared after this story was published

Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed on Wednesday that quarterback Mason Rudolph is still in the concussion protocol after suffering a hit against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5, but said he is progressing well.

"Mason Rudolph is progressing nicely," said Tomlin. "Technically he is still in the concussion protocol, but really there is no extreme urgency in getting him out of the protocol because we don't work again until Monday. He has been fully cleared to participate in the things that we have been doing. He would have been a full participant had we chose to work out today. It's probably semantics in terms of him getting clearance. When he does, we will inform you and we won't speculate any further than what I just did."

Tomlin was asked straight up if Rudolph would be the starter when he returned after Devlin Hodges stepped in on Sunday night in the win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

His answer was quick and definitive.

"Yes. If that makes you guys feel good," Tomlin answered. "He is our quarterback when he clears the protocol. It's as simple as that. Appreciate the efforts of Duck and so forth, but as soon as he is ready to go, he is ready to go."

The players have off until Monday, an opportunity for many of them to rest, recover and heal as they head into the next stretch of the season. Tomlin said some guys who have been dealing with injuries could work their way back onto the practice field next week, while others might be limited.

"Some are progressing nicely," said Tomlin. "Rosie Nix is progressing nicely. We'll see if he will be available for some work next week and again that work will be our guide in terms of game availability. The same can be said for James Washington, Mark Barron and Steve Nelson. Less so with Jaylen (Samuels), obviously he is coming off a surgery. Although he is progressing nicely, he is probably not a candidate in the way the other guys will be going into next week.

"Some of the guys that sustained injuries in game that have been evaluated, their practice availability may be limited at the early portions of the week. They'll have an opportunity to work through it and improve their overall readiness. Those guys being James Conner (quad), Joe Haden (groin) and T.J. Watt (abdomen). I expect those guys to prove their readiness throughout the week and get prepared to play in our next game."