Has Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown lost his punt return job to newcomer Jacoby Jones? Perhaps head coach Mike Tomlin will be asked that very question during his weekly Tuesday press conference, but as of right now, Brown still wants to be the team’s punt returner
“Absolutely,” Brown said after Sundays win over the Oakland Raiders. “I’m always willing to. It’s an exciting play of the game.”
The Steelers sent Jones out for the Raiders first six punts in the game and after he only returned two of them for 2 yards, it was decided that Brown should be used instead of Jones for the Raiders final punt of the game.
Brown, however, fumbled the football after hauling in the 50-yard punt and the Raiders recovered at the Steelers 39-yard-line. After the game, Brown was asked if he was down in spirits after turning the football over.
“No. I should have made it,” Brown said. “I didn’t get a chance to return a punt, so when I got the opportunity I was excited. I should have made a better judgment on the ball when I was calling for a fair catch. I heard the gunner say he let the guy go, so I just have to be smarter and more cognizant. During the course of the game, there is always adversity. You just have to move on to the next thing.”
I’m sure we can forgive Brown for that miscue being as he registered a franchise-high 17 catches for 284 yards on Sunday against the Raiders. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Brown and former NFL receiver Terrell Owens are the only players with 17 or more receptions and 280 receiving yards in a game.
As for Brown, who has been the team’s punt returner for most of his career, he’s now averaging 8.2 yards a return so far this season.