The Pittsburgh Steelers might use their prized new quarterback, Justin Fields, in a special new role — returning kickoffs, under revamped NFL kicking guidelines that take effect this fall.

Pittsburgh running back Jaylen Warren revealed the potential, unorthodox scheme on teammate’s “Not Just Football with Cam Heyward” podcast that posted on Thursday.

“Our special teams coordinator was talking about Justin Fields being back there,” Warren said to the laughs and gasps of the audience.

Warren admitted that Steelers in the meeting were taken aback by special team coordinator Danny Smith’s potential use of Fields.

“We’re like hold on, hold on,” a smiling Warren said. “We looked at him like, ‘Justin Fields will be back there?’”

The league in March approved what might be the most significant rules change in NFL history by totally revamping kickoffs.

Starting this upcoming season, the ball will be booted from the kicking team’s 35-yard line with the rest of the coverage team lined up at the receiver’s 40-yard line.

Receiving team blockers will be face-to-face with the kicking team at the 35 and no one moves until the ball is caught by the returner, probably around the goal line.

The radical new alignment gives returners space to possibly break off a big runback and protect all players from high-speed collisions since blocking would commence immediately.

Fields has been clocked as fast as 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash, making him one of the game’s fastest quarterbacks. That kind of speed could be a valuable weapon with the open field brought by 2024 kickoff rules.

Under previous rules, the kicking team would boot from their own 35 with the receiving blockers 10 to 15 yards off, protecting an onside kick.

As soon as the boot went deep, everyone would sprint into the receiving team’s end as the kick coverage team purses with a head of steam looking for big hits.

Warren said he’d be up for running kickoffs in 2024.

“I mean I would, I think it’s pretty cool,” he said. “As soon as you touch the ball that’s when everything starts to happen.”

Fields was traded by Chicago to Pittsburgh in March, clearing the way for the Bears to pick USC QB Caleb Williams with the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.


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