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Antonio Brown will return punts again this year

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Antonio Brown plays a big role in the Steelers offense, but that won’t be his only role in the coming season.

Coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that the team will use Brown as a punt returner this season as well. There was some thought that the addition of the speedy Dri Archer in the draft would lead to a change in roles for Brown, but Tomlin said that Archer will only be an option for the team alongside Brown.

That announcement naturally leads to thoughts about the injury risk that Brown will take on by expanding his portfolio, but Tomlin said that the team won’t live in fear of injury when it comes to deploying a player they believe can help them.

“He is a Pro Bowl caliber return man, so that’s how you play him,” Tomlin said of Brown, via the team.

There’s no question that Brown has skills with two career punt return touchdowns and a 12.8-yard average on returns last season. He’s also a Pro Bowl caliber receiver, though, and losing that would likely hurt the Steelers much more than going with Archer or others as the full-time punt return options.

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22 Responses to “Antonio Brown will return punts again this year”
  1. bskeezy000 says: Sep 2, 2014 12:38 PM

    Hey Coach Tomlin – He’s also a Pro Bowl caliber WR, so be careful with that.

  2. humbleminded85 says: Sep 2, 2014 12:50 PM

    Gotta admit him returning kicks is what first stood out to me early on in his career. He runs with such conviction and even when he does get tackled it almost always looks more like a blown block assignment then a bad run. With that being said the writer has a point about the risk/reward side of it and with the combination of having Archer combined with the lack of receiver depth after Brown it might just not be worth it.

  3. geezohman says: Sep 2, 2014 12:50 PM

    well… i suppose (PFT) is right… its not like we have a bunch of 1st round receivers sitting on the bench waiting to start. Ben is a very good passer but you need great receivers, not one’s with the drop problems… like another steel industry town not far away ! lol, lol

    Time for upper management to look at other ‘coaching’ options

  4. The Steelers are Marching and the world cowers. The three rivers were made from your tears and we build boats. We build lots of boats. We walk beside pristine trophy cases and engraved gold. They say it's lonely at the top, but we sure like the view. says: Sep 2, 2014 12:56 PM

    Best returner in the world. Not even close.

  5. troy43mvp says: Sep 2, 2014 12:58 PM

    Enough already! These guys are football players. Have them play football. He is a very good return man. Returning footballs is a very important part of the game and establishing field position. It’s also an area where the inexperienced can turn the ball over. Of course he could get hurt. It’s football! Armchair coach’s are not very hard to find these days….. sheeze!

  6. Steeley McBeam says: Sep 2, 2014 1:02 PM

    With all the stupid rule changes including moving the kickoff forward a punt man is much more valuable than a kickoff return man these days. Punt return duties also require quick thinking and decision making — something that can only come with experience.

    I would guess that Archer will eventually take over but AB is just too good not to put back there at least in important situations.

    How often are these guys really injured during punt returns anyways? I can’t remember the last great offensive player who was injured returning a punt.

  7. steelcurtainn says: Sep 2, 2014 1:04 PM

    AB is a great punt return man, right decision. Cant wait to see this guy and the steelers offense have a great year. Get ready to hear TD AB, TD Steelers.

  8. Bull Rush says: Sep 2, 2014 1:04 PM

    Last year Jacoby Jones was out for weeks after he was back waiting to catch a punt because of his own team mate. Stuff happens, it is a risk. I wouldn’t want my teams #1 WR taking undue risks.

  9. tebowbrokesteelers says: Sep 2, 2014 1:10 PM

    On a related note “Tomlin said he will be on special teams when someone is returning a punt or kickoff for a TD. Also it should be noted since being Tebowed out of the playoffs years ago the steelers have o winning seasons and o playoff appearances since.

  10. Wineshard says: Sep 2, 2014 1:19 PM

    He could get hurt playing WR too. Maybe they should just put him a glass case with the Lombardi’s to make sure he doesn’t get hurt?

  11. clashpoint says: Sep 2, 2014 1:25 PM

    I think this is partially why the Steelers kept 6 wrs on their 53, with two more on the practice squad. This and that almost all of them also play special teams, the exception being Lance Moore. I know the Steelers depth at wr has been questioned by those who don’t follow the team closely, but Heyward-Bey has not only found his hands, he has been excellent as a gunner. As has Marcus Wheaton, and solid 6-3 Justin Brown plays on the coverage teams and is also an excellent blocker. Plus Dri Archer gets snaps here too.

    The team has more depth on it at wr than given credit for, and as usual I don’t care what anyone else thinks. So yeah, give the man chance to make big plays. Are we all aware he’s in the Hall of Fame as the only player in NFL history to ring up 1000 yards both receiving and in kick returns – in the same year? Well, we are now.

    GO STEELERS!

  12. ohand16 says: Sep 2, 2014 1:40 PM

    Stillers have no holes and should go 16-0 in the regular season unless they get ripped off by the refs…

    The roster is full of HOF’ers and is unparalleled in the NFL.

  13. rexranius says: Sep 2, 2014 1:40 PM

    I love reading idiots who suggest giving playmakers less touches unless it is their traditional position. Do you want your playmakers making plays? How do you do that? Give them the ball. Who cares how they get yards, score or make defenses soften to play them honest. Every play has injury potential.

  14. ohand16 says: Sep 2, 2014 1:41 PM

    Correction to previous post. Stillers actually 3rd best team in their division. The humidity was getting to me.

  15. crownofthehelmet says: Sep 2, 2014 1:42 PM

    I cant remember the last time I saw a punt returner get hurt. Many more get hurt playing WR.

  16. schat747 says: Sep 2, 2014 1:58 PM

    The more important question is whether that makes him more valuable in FF (add return yards) or less valuable (injury risk) ?

  17. rav3nbav3n says: Sep 2, 2014 2:51 PM

    Wannabe Jacoby Jones, who has destroyed the Steelers the last two years, while Brown has done nothing against the Ravens.

  18. clashpoint says: Sep 2, 2014 3:24 PM

    Just a little reminder of what the big picture AFCN scoreboard looks like:

    Steelers/Bengals
    Regular season? PIT: 53-34
    Postseason? PIT: 1-0

    Steelers/Browns
    Regular season? PIT: 65-57
    Postseason? PIT: 2-0

    Steelers/Ravens
    Regular season? PIT: 23–16
    Postseason? PIT: 3-0

    Steelers run all y’all. Deal.

    Go Steelers!

  19. Nofoolnodrool says: Sep 2, 2014 3:45 PM

    On a related note “Tomlin said he will be on special teams when someone is returning a punt or kickoff for a TD. Also it should be noted since being Tebowed out of the playoffs years ago the steelers have o winning seasons and o playoff appearances since.

    On a related note trolls are more interested in thumbs down than a free meal at a four star restaurant….. Where is the phoney god bless today?

    Brown needs to be replaced by Archer to safe guard Ben’s best weapon.

  20. keiselsbeard says: Sep 3, 2014 6:27 AM

    Tomlin is a blithering idiot & I anxiously await the day when our team is no longer poisoned by his stupidity.

  21. tinytoolalldrool says: Sep 3, 2014 7:17 AM

    Tomlin showing his high I.Q. again lol.

  22. troy43mvp says: Sep 3, 2014 8:46 AM

    “On a related note “Tomlin said he will be on special teams when someone is returning a punt or kickoff for a TD”

    That’s actually a good one

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