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.