NFL Changes Kickoff Rules, Steelers Sign Kickoff Return Specialist

7187001 web1 AP22332633751043
7187001 web1 AP22332633751043

There was plenty of discussion made about the decision by the NFL to change the kickoff rules for the upcoming season. In order to address player safety while avoiding banning the practice altogether, a new set of rules has been put into place that makes the routine that we’ve gotten used to seeing thrown out of wack a bit.

Steelers React To NFL Rule Changes By Signing Patterson

But while fans and the media either complained or adjusted their eyes to the change, the Pittsburgh Steelers went out and made moves. The league’s rule changes will include more opportunities for special teams players to make plays like they used to, and no one has been more effective at returning kicks for touchdowns than Cordarrelle Patterson.

Patterson is the all-time NFL leader in kick return touchdowns, with nine of them since the Vikings drafted him in the first round back in 2013. He has three times as many KR touchdowns as any other player does in that span.

Patterson has had an interesting career when it comes to the position he plays. He was listed as a running back when it was drafted, but played primarily as a wide receiver during his first 8 years in the league with the Vikings, Raiders, Patriots, and Bears. But when he arrived in Atlanta in 2021, he was turned into a RB/WR hybrid, and went over 1,000 scrimmage yards for the only time in his career in his first season with the Falcons.

Patterson Will See More Opportunities To Add To His Record

The move to the Steelers reunites him with Arthur Smith, as the former Falcons head coach is now the offensive coordinator for Pittsburgh.

He hasn’t had much of an effect in the return game lately, thanks in large part to the NFL changing the kickoff rules to promote player safety. He was given 34 total chances in his 3 years in Atlanta, and was able to bring just one back to the house for a touchdown. During the first eight years of his career, Patterson had scored a return touchdown in six of them, including two-touchdown seasons on two different occasions.

The contract that Patterson signed with the Steelers is a two-year deal that is worth a reported $6 million.

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