It’s yet to be seen whether or not the Pittsburgh Steelers will cut ties with veteran return man Jacoby Jones on Tuesday and if they don’t, it doesn’t look like he’ll be returning any kicks or punts Sunday when the team plays the Cincinnati Bengals.
According to the team’s latest depth chart that was released on Tuesday, wide receiver Markus Wheaton is now listed as the No. 1 kick returner while fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown is now listed as the No. 1 punt returner.
Consequences for fumbling. On new @Steelers depth chart, Wheaton is No.1 KOR, and AB back as No.1 PR.
— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) December 8, 2015
None of this is really a surprise being as head coach Mike Tomlin benched Jones during the first half of Sunday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts because of him fumbling multiple times. While Tomlin probably doesn’t like using two of his key offensive players in return roles, he really has no choice right now.
Wheaton ended the 2014 season as the Steelers primary kickoff returner after former running backs Dri Archer and LeGarrette Blount both failed to provide good results early on the season. Wheaton ended the season with 20 returns for 494 yards with a long of 41.
As for Brown, who has a lot of experience returning punts since coming into the league, he returned one 71 yards for a touchdown Sunday night against the Colts after taking over for Jones.
Tomlin will meet with the media in a few hours from now and it will be surprising if he isn’t asked about the recent depth chart changes on special teams. If the team does wind up parting ways with Jones, that transaction will likely happen sometime Tuesday before 4 p.m. EST. Jones was claimed by the Steelers off waivers from the San Diego Chargers several weeks ago and since that time he has averaged 24.4 yards per return on kickoffs and 3.2 yards on punt returns.