PITTSBURGH — Mason Rudolph ambled through the Pittsburgh Steelers locker room on Monday, a welcome sight less than 24 hours removed from a harrowing collision with Baltimore safety Earl Thomas that left the second-year quarterback lying unconscious on the Heinz Field turf.

Rudolph’s upbeat appearance drew a collective sigh of relief from his teammates. Though he remains in the concussion protocol, the big picture outlook for Rudolph’s recovery looks promising.

Though Devlin Hodges filled in capably after Rudolph exited in the third quarter on Sunday — twice leading the Steelers on go-ahead scoring drives — JuJu Smith-Schuster’s overtime fumble helped the Ravens escape with a 26-23 victory and left Pittsburgh at 1-4 heading into a visit to the Los Angeles Chargers next weekend.

Meanwhile, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said a fine for the hit Thomas delivered would “surprise” him.

Thomas, who was flagged for roughing the passer, is not expected to be suspended for the blow, according to an NFL Network report.

Steelers wide receiver James Washington’s left arm was in a sling on Monday. Washington injured his shoulder while catching a 26-yard pass on the play Rudolph was drilled by Thomas.

Hill nears return, but Chiefs’ injuries pile up

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill took a positive step in recovery last week by putting in limited practices for three days before being inactive for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid wants to further evaluate Hill in the coming week of practice before consulting with the team’s medical staff to make a determination.

The Chiefs are 4-1 after Sunday night’s 19-13 loss to the Colts.

Meanwhile, Hill’s injury isn’t the only one for the Chiefs to monitor in the coming week ahead of Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs also lost wide receiver Sammy Watkins (hamstring), defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin), defensive tackle Xavier Williams (ankle), linebacker Anthony Hitchens (groin) and left guard Andrew Wylie (ankle) to injuries against the Colts.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was also hobbled after fill-in left tackle Cam Erving stepped on his ankle during the second half, but he dismissed any notion that he would be slowed in practice this week.

Giants’ Shepard out with a concussion

New York receiver Sterling Shepard will be out “a while” with a concussion, according to a source.

Shepard sustained a second concussion in five weeks during Sunday’s 28-10 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Shepard was removed from the game with four minutes left in the third quarter, after the NFL’s concussion spotter saw him fall hard to the turf trying to catch a deep pass down the left sideline.

Shepard returned to the game on the Giants’ next drive early in the fourth quarter, but then did not play on their final drive.

Running back Wayne Gallman also left the game with a concussion in the first quarter. Rookie Jon Hilliman and Eli Penny are the only healthy backs, but Saquon Barkley may be able to return soon from his high ankle sprain.

Titans kick Santos to curb after four misses

Tennessee released kicker Cairo Santos a day after he missed three field goals and had a fourth blocked.

Santos missed field goals from 50, 36 and 53 yards with a 36-yarder blocked by Darryl Johnson in a 14-7 loss to Buffalo on Sunday. Santos apologized at his locker after the game with the native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, saying he’d never had a day like that anywhere.

Santos had been signed Sept. 4 when they put veteran Ryan Succop on injured reserve, a move designed to let Succop gain strength after having surgery this offseason on his kicking leg. Succop remains three weeks away from being eligible to be activated off injured reserve.

Patriots: New England released tight end Ben Watson. Watson was eligible to make his debut for the Patriots against Washington on Sunday. But the 38-year-old wasn’t activated after serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance following the 2018 season.

Jaguars: Tight end James O’Shaughnessy tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at Carolina and will have season-ending surgery. Rookie tight end Josh Oliver, still recovering from a significant hamstring injury, could be on verge of making his NFL debut.

Bears: Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks left after eight plays with an elbow injury and didn’t return. Coach Matt Nagy had no update on the severity of the injury. Mitchell Trubisky will spend the bye week rehabbing his injured left shoulder at the facility and has a chance to be back when the team returns.

Broncos: Cornerback De’Vante Bausby (cervical spine) will “definitely miss some time,” according to Denver coach Vic Fangio. Rookie linebacker Justin Hollins (knee) is day-to-day, and tackle Ja’Wuan James (knee), sidelined since the opener, is expected to return.

Bengals: Receiver A.J. Green will miss another game as he recovers from an ankle injury during training camp. Left tackle Andre Smith injured his left ankle and left during Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. Alex Erickson suffered a concussion in the second quarter.

Cowboys: Right tackle La’el Collins left with a knee injury in the second half after being questionable with a back issue. Owner Jerry Jones said it was a medial collateral ligament injury and was optimistic about the prognosis.

Eagles: Running back/punt returner Darren Sproles is week to week with a quadriceps strain. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson remains on the sideline because of an abdomen injury. He hasn’t played since getting he was injured in Week 2.

Saints: Receiver Tre’Quan Smith left with an ankle injury after missing the two previous games with the same ailment.

Colts: Defensive end Kemoko Turay will miss the rest of the season with a broken and dislocated left ankle.

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