In addition to easily securing a spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster this year as a wide receiver, second-year Louisville product Eli Rogers also showed during the preseason that he has the ability to return punts as well. Because of that, Rogers was listed as the team’s co-starter alongside fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown at punt returner on the team’s first official depth chart of the 2016 regular season that was released Monday morning.
In addition to two fair catches during the Steelers four preseason games, Rogers returned three other punts for 39 yards. During his four years at Louisville, the wide receiver returned a total of 29 punts for 248 yards.
It will now be interesting to see if head coach Mike Tomlin has enough confidence in Rogers to allow him to return any punts in the Steelers regular season opener against the Washington Redskins. If I were to bet on this, however, my money would be on Brown returning the first few punts in that game and maybe even all of them.
Last year during the regular season, Brown returned a total of 22 punts for 212 yards with a long of 71, which culminated in a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts and the wide receiver attempting to stick himself to the padding of the goal post.