Mason Rudolph took a positive step in his recovery as he cleared the concussion protocol Wednesday, the team announced.He has been cleared to make a return to the field in Week 8 after the Steelers’ bye week. NFL’s Roger Goodell downplays idea of draft lottery to discourage tanking Rudolph returned to practice on a limited basis last week in pads and a helmet just three days after taking a scary hit against the Ravens, but he was ruled for Week 6 against the Chargers. Rudolph, selected in the third round of the 2018 draft, had stepped in for Ben Roethlisberger, who is recovering from a season-ending elbow injury he suffered in Week 2.Rudolph was knocked unconscious by Earl Thomas in Pittsburgh’s overtime loss to Baltimore in Week 5. Thomas was eventually fined $21,000 for the hit, though he appealed the sanction. Browns’ Myles Garrett claims he was punched in the face by a fan NFL news and notes: Jalen Ramsey traded to Rams; Saquon Barkley full participant at practice Steelers QB Mason Rudolph has cleared the concussion protocol and can return to the field in Week 8 after the team returns from its bye week.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 16, 2019Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Rudolph will be Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback when he’s ready to return.“He is our quarterback when he clears the protocol. It’s as simple as that,” Tomlin said earlier Wednesday. “As soon as he is ready to go, he is ready to go.” Related News Devlin Hodges replaced Rudolph against Baltimore where he went 7 of 9 for 68 yards with no touchdowns but gave the Steelers some hope as he won his first career start Sunday against the Chargers. Hodges completed 15 of 20 passes for 132 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while star running back James Conner had his first game with both a rushing and receiving touchdown to help carry the offense before exiting in the third quarter with a quad injury. He totaled 119 scrimmage yards before leaving the game.The Steelers (2-4) will next face the winless Dolphins in Week 8 action.