Eli Rogers to keep punt return duty despite Antonio Brown
Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers says he’ll remain on punt returns in the event of Antonio Brown’s return against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
PITTSBURGH — Antonio Brown’s impending return to the Steelers’ lineup won’t affect how they field punts.
Eli Rogers said he remains Pittsburgh’s starting punt returner while the star receiver practices ahead of Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. AFC divisional round playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field. Brown (calf) was listed as a full participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Brown fully participated in the team’s bonus day of practice on Monday.
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Brown, who took over punt returns from Rogers in Week 4 after the former undrafted rookie free agent bobbled punts against the Chicago Bears, was taken off return duty in Week 12 as he played through a toe injury.
Tomlin has been consistently complimentary of Rogers’ punt return play since. Rogers is averaging 9.1 yards per return in that time.
Special teams coordinator Danny Smith maintained that Rogers, Brown and Cameron Sutton are all practicing punt returns this week, and that they all get equal time doing so.
“We’ve got choices back there for a change, so that’s been good,” Smith said.
But Rogers said Brown isn’t take the position back on Sunday.
“Nah,” Rogers said. “I’m the punt returner.”
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