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Justin Fields Won’t Be Used on Kickoff Returns

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields declares that he will not be used on kickoff returns this season.

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Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields
Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields at the team's OTAs, May 28, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Back around the time just after the NFL Draft, the idea that Justin Fields would be used on kickoffs picked up steam after Jaylen Warren noted that Pittsburgh Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith talked about using Fields on kickoffs during a special teams meeting.

“Our special teams coordinator was talking about Justin Fields being back there. We were like hold up. We looked at him like, ‘Justin Fields about to be back there?’” Warren said on the Not Just Football podcast with Cam Heyward.

Now that OTAs have commenced, Fields was asked about the possibility but shot it down. He said that Smith’s comment was taken out of context, and instead, he meant to use Fields as an example.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields and offensive coordinator Arthur Smith during OTAs on May 22, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“Nah, I’m not here to do that,” Fields said via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It was kind of a joke, to be honest with you. I think everybody kind of interpreted it wrong. Coach Danny was basically just trying to send a message that no matter who you are, you could be on special teams. He just used that as an example.”

The entire idea of using Fields back there seemed preposterous from the beginning. A dedicated package towards Fields in the offense seems likely, but not on kick returns. The Steelers signed Cordarrelle Patterson to do just that, and it seems likely that Patterson will be the team’s primary kick returner this upcoming season.

Fields will compete with Russell Wilson for the starting quarterback job in an overhauled room in Arthur Smith’s offense. That is where the focus should be for most of the Summer rather than on the idea that Fields will somehow go back on kick returns. But he figures to be a weapon in Arthur Smith’s arsenal.