Justin Fields laughs off idea that he’ll run kicks back for the Steelers: ‘I’m not here to do that’

Justin Fields is currently battling with Russell Wilson for the starting quarterback job in Pittsburgh

No, Justin Fields won’t be running back kick returns for the Pittsburgh Steelers this fall.

The former Chicago Bears quarterback laughed that idea off on Tuesday, ending what would’ve been a remarkable development on his new team.

“Nah, I’m not here to do that,” Fields said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It was kind of a joke, to be honest with you.”

The idea was first floated by Steelers running back Jaylen Warren on Cam Heyward’s podcast earlier this spring. Warren mentioned that special teams coordinator Danny Smith had suggested that Fields could be used on kick returns this season.

After it took off on social media, Justin Fields officially shut down the idea that he’d be playing on special teams for the Steelers.
After it took off on social media, Justin Fields officially shut down the idea that he’d be playing on special teams for the Steelers. (AP/Gene J. Puskar)

Quickly, that spiraled into a much larger deal on social media — which Fields said he thought was incredibly funny.

“Nah, I think everybody kind of interpreted it wrong,” Fields said. “Coach Danny was basically just trying to send a message that no matter who you are, you could be on special teams. He just used that as an example.”

The Steelers struck a deal to trade for Fields in March after he spent his first three years in the league with the Bears, who have since used the No. 1 overall pick in the draft on his replacement in Caleb Williams. The Steelers also landed Russell Wilson in a trade this offseason, and it was initially reported that Wilson was the presumed starter. Fields, however, insisted earlier this month at practices that he was “definitely competing” for the starting job.

Fields threw for a career-high 2,562 yards and had 16 passing touchdowns last season in Chicago. He had another 657 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, which came on the heels of his 1,100-yard rushing season in 2022.

"I'm definitely competing," Fields said about the starting job this month. "Russ knows that. We're competing against each other every day. ... I definitely don't have the mindset of me just sitting all year. I'm coming in every day giving it all I've got — pushing him to be his best, and he's pushing me to be my best each and every day."

With that competition being a very real thing — and honestly, there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be considering everybody involved — throwing Fields into the mix for kickoff returns wouldn’t make any sense at all. The risk involved is just far too high.

“Hey, you never know,” Fields said with a grin. “[Smith] might cook something up. We’ll see what happens.”