Justin Fields to Return Kicks for Steelers? Jaylen Warren Says Special Teams Coordinator Has Floated Idea

According to Jaylen Warren, the Steelers could turn to new quarterback Justin Fields as their kick returner this season.

The new kickoff rules have left many teams scrambling to find return specialists that can be added to the active roster to help organizations get an edge on Sunday.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, the need for a kick returner appeared to be solved when they agreed to a free-agent deal with Cordarelle Patterson just hours after the NFL Competition Committee and Owners agreed on the rule change.

However, according to one member of the current Steelers roster, it could be former Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields returning kicks this season for Pittsburgh instead.

Jaylen Warren Teases Justin Fields as Steelers Kick Returner

On the “Not Just Football” Podcast with Steelers teammate Cam Heyward, Pittsburgh running back Jaylen Warren stated that the team is considering the possibility of Fields potentially getting reps at kick returner.

“Our special teams coordinator was talking about Justin Fields being back there,” Warren stated in disbelief. “We were like ‘[Justin] being back there?'”

Warren also stated that he would like to get a chance to return kicks as well if it helped the team and was a possibility.

The notion that Fields could be returning kicks would be a stunning turn of events for quarterbacks everywhere.

First, the former 11th overall pick of the Bears has always had a unique shiftiness to his game.

Despite his deficiencies as a passer, Fields put up over 2,000 yards rushing in his three-year run with Chicago and over six yards a carry on average.

With Russell Wilson expected to get the upper hand in any quarterback competition this offseason, finding ways to get Fields on the actual field could lead Pittsburgh to try something unique.

While Patterson is still expected to be Pittsburgh’s top returner, this wouldn’t be the first time the Steelers utilized a quarterback this way.

From 1995-2002, the Steelers used Kordell Stewart at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver throughout his career, with plenty of playoff success to boot. While Stewart never returned kicks, the new “Slash” could be utilized by Fields.

The decision has been made a little bit easier as well, thanks to the rule changes made this offseason.

What Are the New Kickoff Rules?

The main focus of the new kickoff rules is that every player on the kicking team other than the kicker will now line up with at least one foot on the returning team’s 40-yard line. Only the kicker and the returner can move before the ball is put into play. Fair catches are no longer allowed with this new rule.

This is an adoption of the XFL’s kickoff rules that not only saw the health of players improve, but the excitement of kick returns in general also improved, too.

In total, the vote for the new role passed by a 29-3 margin.

“I’m all for it,” Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid told the Associated Press regarding the rule change. “You have 2,000 dead plays. Nobody wants to see that. It’ll add excitement and newness.”

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