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Justin Fields laughs off kick return talk: 'I'm not here to do that'

5/29/2024 11:59:09 AM
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It could’ve just been received as a throwaway anecdote from Jaylen Warren on Cam Heyward’s podcast, but instead, it became a viral NFL story during a portion of downtime in the league calendar, Brian Batko of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Justin Fields returning kickoffs for the Steelers? An idea broached by longtime special teams coordinator Danny Smith that might actually happen in 2024?

“Nah, I think everybody kind of interpreted it wrong,” Fields said Tuesday at his locker. “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.”

But Warren wasn’t stretching the truth when he told Heyward last month that Smith mentioned it in a team meeting. Fields added he was actually smirking when it happened because he hasn’t done anything in that capacity on the football field since maybe middle school.

Little did he know it would become the topic of so much conversation here and around the NFL. Of course, Fields understands by now what kind of microscope he’s under at this level, especially after his high-profile stint with and subsequent trade from the Bears. 

“It’s funny how serious social media takes everything,” Fields said. “It was kind of funny to me when everybody was making a big deal about it for no reason.”

There were some outside-the-box diagrams of how the Steelers could utilize Fields as one deep returner with the ability to throw the ball across the field to another deep returner given the NFL’s new rules for kickoffs. Fields was a good sport about that, putting nothing past the 70-year-old Smith.

“Hey, you never know. He might cook something up. We’ll see what happens,” Fields said with a grin.

Wait, there he goes again, adding fuel to the fire. When training camp rolls around, especially preseason games, perhaps there will be a renewed conversation about Fields having some sort of role within the offense or a designated package for him under center.

But let it be known once and for all that Fields is in Pittsburgh to learn Arthur Smith’s offense and compete with Russell Wilson as a quarterback rather than contribute on special teams — according to Fields himself.

“Nah, I’m not here to do that,” Fields admitted. “It was kind of a joke, to be honest with you.”

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