Steelers' teased role for Justin Fields is the last thing you would expect

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers / John Fisher/GettyImages

The Steelers somehow managed to land Justin Fields after trading Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles, but a quarterback competition in Pittsburgh might not happen right away. Early reports suggest that Mike Tomlin told Russell Wilson he would be the starter to open the 2024 season.

Fields is a former first-round pick who is coming off his best season as a professional quarterback in Year 3 in 2023. The polarizing QB also happens to be a dynamic athlete, and leaving him on the bench holding a clipboard seems to be a waste of his incredible athletic talent.

Recently, Jaylen Warren may have let the cat out of the bag when he talked about how Fields may be used for their team this season. Warren joined Cameron Heyward on the Not Just Football podcast, where he revealed that the Steelers have discussed using Justin Fields on kick return duties.

"Our special teams coordinator [Danny Smith] was talking about Justin Fields being back there... We looked at him like, 'Justin Fields gonna be back there?' I don't know. I think it's cool. "

Jaylen Warren, Not Just Football Podcast

As Warren said this in front of the crowd, Heyward interrupted and said, 'Woah, woah. You breaking news already?'

Danny Smith, the Steelers' special teams coordinator, has apparently flirted with the idea of placing Justin Fields on kick return duties. Fields is too dynamic to leave on the bench, but is returning kicks a foolish thought or a wise decision?

Steelers could get creative with Justin Fields returning kicks

Before we dismiss this completely, it's important to consider all the factors here. The NFL has instituted new kickoff rules, adopted from the XFL. Instead of promoting car crash-like collisions, the returning team and defending team will line up just five yards from each other.

This kickoff return style should greatly reduce the number of injuries, as players won't be running full speed at each other. The new kickoff rules no doubt sparked creativity from Danny Smith.

It's also important to fully respect the type of athlete Justin Fields is. This isn't your typical quarterback. At 6'2 3/4''' and 227 pounds, Fields is built like a workhorse running back. Combine that with 4.46 speed and a player who is dynamic with the football in his hands, and you have a very interesting situation.

At the same time, it's worth noting that Pittsburgh signed Cordarrelle Patterson this offseason -- presumably to fill the role as the team's primary kick returner. Fields may also be reluctant to oblige, considering he's in a contract year. He may not be willing to put his body on the line unless it's proving himself as a quarterback.

Returning kicks isn't something that Justin Fields has done in the past (for obvious reasons), but perhaps the Pittsburgh Steelers are looking for ways for him on the field with the ball in his hands. This would be something that nobody could have seen coming.