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Pittsburgh Steelers to start Mason Rudolph, Damontae Kazee gets suspended

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Damontae Kazee was suspended for the rest of the season on Monday. The suspension also includes any potential playoff games.

Kazee's suspension resulted from repeated violations of the rules on the health and safety of players. During Saturday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Kazee made a vicious hit in the head/neck area on Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman didn't return to the game and entered concussion protocol.

"With 8:49 remaining in the 2nd quarter, you were involved in a play that the League considers a serious violation of the playing rules," NFL Vice President of FooFootball Operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Kazee regarding the suspension. "The video of the play shows that you delivered a forcible blow to the head/neck area of Colts' receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who was in a defenseless posture. You had an unobstructed path to your opponent, and the illegal contact could have been avoided. Your actions were flagrant, and as a result, you were disqualified from the game."

Losing Kazee could be a massive loss for the Steelers. This season, he has 61 tackles, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries. The question now is, how will the Steelers defense be without Kazee?

Kazee's suspension isn't the only Steelers news, as they have announced that they will have Mason Rudolph as their quarterback for Saturday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Rudolph replaces Mitchell Trubisky, who has started the last two games.

"It's our intention as we sit here today to give Mason Rudolph an opportunity to start," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's a veteran guy. He's a backup, but he's also a veteran guy. He's been in our program for a long time. He's here for those reasons. We got a great deal of comfort with him."

The decision to start Rudolph isn't surprising since Trubisky and the Steelers struggled the last two games. The Steelers have scored just 18 and 13 points in the previous two games, and Trubisky was benched after throwing an interception against the Colts.

Rudolph is an excellent choice to be the starting quarterback, even though his last start came in November of 2021. In 2019, he started eight games and went 5-3 while throwing for 1,765 yards and 13 touchdowns with nine interceptions. Rudolph has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,369 yards and 16 touchdowns with 11 interceptions in his career.

The Steelers have lost three straight games. If they want to make the playoffs, then they need to win, and Rudolph could be the guy that leads them to a win.

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

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