Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Monday said a fine for the hit safety Earl Thomas III delivered Sunday that knocked out Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph would “surprise" him.
“I see Earl trying to pull off," Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference. “I mean, there’s no question about it when you watch the tape. He goes in there, and as he gets close, he’s running to the ball. Mason’s scrambling and going, and [Thomas] is running to the ball, playing fast, and he tries to pull out. It’s clear. So I respect him for that. Just an unfortunate collision. I think he tipped his chin. That’s what happened. But he tried to get out of there. He didn’t try to hit him. He felt bad about it, the result of it.”
The blow left Rudolph unconscious and motionless on the ground, as team doctors rushed to attend to him. Rudolph walked off the field with assistance and was ruled out for the rest of the game with a concussion. He was later evaluated at a nearby hospital.
According to multiple reports, Rudolph has left the hospital.
After the Ravens’ 26-23 win in overtime, Thomas expressed his condolences and said that the hit was not intentional.
“I didn’t think much of it. I was just getting to the ball, trying to make a play for my team,” Thomas said Sunday. “I hit the strike zone, like we talk about. 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. 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.”
Thomas, who was flagged for roughing the passer, is not expected to be suspended for the blow, according to an NFL Network report.
“[A fine] would surprise me based on what’s on the tape, in all honesty,” Harbaugh said. “But I don’t know what to expect, so I’m probably not a real good predictor of that.”