NFL Media Reacts to Steelers Adding Historic Kick Returner Cordarrelle Patterson

The Pittsburgh Steelers have turned heads with free agent signings or trades a few different times this offseason. The team did it again with the signing of Cordarrelle Patterson.

Cordarrelle Patterson

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on March 26 that the Steelers agreed to a 2-year, $6 million contract with Patterson. Steelers media members and fans alike reacted very positively to the addition of Patterson on social media.

“On the day the NFL officially changes the kickoff format, the Steelers go out and sign one of the most dangerous return men in the NFL in Cordarrelle Patterson,” wrote The Score’s Daniel Valente on X (formerly Twitter).

“Love it.”

Patterson has returned nine kickoffs for touchdowns during his 11-year NFL career. That’s the most in NFL history.

“Steelers already aiming for a real kick return strategy,” wrote Neal Coolong on X.

Steelers Depot’s X account joked about Steelers special teams coordinator Danny Smith likely being pleased about Patterson coming to Pittsburgh.

“Danny Smith after signing Cordarrelle Patterson.”

However, Patterson won’t be just a kick return specialist. He excelled as a runner and pass catcher while, ironically, playing for new Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith and the Atlanta Falcons.

“Arthur Smith when Cordarrelle Patterson shows up to mini camp,” The OF Fantasy Football X account wrote as a caption of a man crying right before getting married.

In three seasons with the Falcons, Patterson rushed for 1,494 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also caught 82 passes for 708 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Steelers Sign Cordarrelle Patterson After NFL Announces ‘Radical’ Kickoff Return Changes

The NFL approved one of the biggest rule changes in the history of the league on March 26. With the rule change, the league hopes to make the kickoff return relevant again.

“The NFL’s 29-3 approval Tuesday of new kickoff rules creates one of the league’s most radical changes ever, with the hope of bringing excitement back to the play while reducing injuries,” wrote The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen.

Readers can find the full set of the NFL’s new kickoff return rules here. But in summary, the new rules will set up more opportunities for returns on kickoffs.

“This is going to be brand new to everybody,” New Orleans Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi told reporters in Orlando, via ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. “But the big thing is we feel we’ve made this play extremely relevant and, more importantly, a lot safer.”

The Steelers wasted little time taking advantage of the new rules, signing Patterson the same day the owners approved the kickoff changes.

Pittsburgh prioritizing special teams by signing Patterson was a breath of fresh air for many fans. Patterson has more kickoff return touchdowns in his career than the Steelers have had over the past 35 seasons.

Pittsburgh’s last kickoff return touchdown came from JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2017.

Steelers Nation Welcomes Patterson to Pittsburgh on Social Media

Patterson came across as a rather down-to-earth person upon agreeing to his contract with the Steelers. In fact, he appeared to be too busy cleaning to even celebrate.

“Over here mopping,” Patterson wrote on X with black and gold heart emojis. “I’ll hit yall back soon.”

In response, many Steelers fans welcomed him to the team.

“That’s my return specialist right there,” wrote Fields 2 Freiermuth SZN.

“Now following, welcome to SteelersNation,” wrote TheFahKing1&Only with black and gold heart emojis.

Patterson made first-team All-Pro as a kickoff returner in 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2020. He also earned a spot on second-team All-Pro in 2015 and 2018.

Patterson has averaged 29.3 yards per kickoff return in his NFL career.

After signing in Atlanta, Patterson began playing a much bigger role on offense. In Pittsburgh, he will likely serve as the No. 3 running back behind Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren.

Patterson could also line up as a wide receiver in the slot. Currently, the Steelers don’t have a receiver who had more than 209 receiving yards during the 2023 season.

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