Pittsburgh Steelers coaches discussing kick return role for Justin Fields

Justin Fields, Pittsburgh Steelers
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

In what can only be described as a complete overhaul, the Pittsburgh Steelers now have Russell Wilson and Justin Fields atop their quarterback depth chart, a year after starting with Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky.

Wilson is entrenched as the Steelers’ starting QB right now, and Fields may very well be the future in Pittsburgh, but what will his role be in 2024?

Expectations are that the Steelers will have Fields acting as Wilson’s backup quarterback, ready to fill in as soon as his number’s called. Yet, internally, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff may be trying to find other ways to utilize their newest playmaker, even if that means having Fields play special teams, where he’d be used as a kick returner.

No joke. According to Steelers running back Jaylen Warren, Pittsbugh’s coaches have already discussed giving Fields a chance to handle kick returns.

“I would, I think it’s pretty cool — as soon as you touch the ball that’s when everything starts to happen. Our special teams coordinator was talking about Justin Fields being back there. . . . We looked at him like, Justin Fields will be back there? I think it’s cool.”

Pittsburgh Steelers’ RB Jaylen Warren on Justin Fields’ potential kick return role

While most franchises would never even think about letting their highly-valued QB experiment with kick return duties, Fields is not your average athlete. We’re talking about a player who has already proven to be an electric runner in the open field, racking up over 1,000 yards on the ground in 2022. Say what you want about his abilities as a passer, but Fields is a proven weapon with the ball in his hands.

That being said, we still don’t anticipate seeing the former Ohio State star playing on special teams. Even if he is a backup, he’s still too valuable to the Steelers to risk a big injury during a kick return. Not to mention, the Steelers signed Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason, and with nine special teams touchdowns to his name, he’s one of the greatest kick returners in NFL history.

Related: See where Russell Wilson lands in Sportsnaut’s NFL QB Rankings

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