Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Cordarrelle Patterson: Boosting Special Teams

Pittsburgh Steelers Sign Cordarrelle Patterson: Boosting Special Teams

The NFL world is buzzing with excitement as the Pittsburgh Steelers make a bold move, signing Cordarrelle Patterson, a former Atlanta Falcons running back, to a lucrative two-year, $6 million contract. The deal comes hot on the heels of the NFL's announcement of new kickoff rules, suggesting a renewed emphasis on the return game. But why is Patterson such a sought-after player, and what does this mean for the Steelers?

Patterson is no stranger to making headlines. With nine career kick return touchdowns since his NFL debut in 2013, he holds the prestigious title of the league's all-time leader in this category. His ability to electrify the field with explosive returns has earned him a reputation as one of the most dynamic players in the game. But his talents extend beyond special teams.

Under the guidance of now-Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith during his time with the Falcons, Patterson showcased his versatility as a hybrid running back/receiver. In 2020, he enjoyed a career-best season, tallying an impressive 1,166 yards from scrimmage. His knack for lining up in various offensive formations and making plays has made him a valuable asset for any team.

But what prompted the Steelers to make this move? The team has struggled to find a consistent return man in recent years, with their last kick return touchdown dating back to 2017. During the 2023 season, they experimented with a combination of players, including former practice squad addition Godwin Igwebuike and running back Anthony McFarland. However, none were able to fill the void left by JuJu Smith-Schuster's memorable return against the Cleveland Browns.

With Patterson's arrival, the Steelers hope to inject new life into their special teams unit. His track record of success in returning kicks could provide the spark they desperately need. Additionally, his experience as a versatile offensive weapon adds another dimension to their playbook, giving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a valuable target to exploit opposing defenses.

Despite seeing a reduced role with the Falcons in 2023, Patterson's potential remains undeniable. The NFL's previous changes to the kickoff rule, which resulted in more touchbacks, may have limited his opportunities, but his explosiveness and playmaking ability are still intact. At 33 years old, he may not be in his prime, but he has plenty left in the tank to make a significant impact for the Steelers.

Looking back at his journey, Patterson's career has been nothing short of remarkable. Drafted 29th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 2013, he has since played for multiple teams, including the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, and Oakland Raiders. Along the way, he has amassed impressive statistics, totaling 514 carries for 2,511 yards and 22 touchdowns, along with 298 catches for 2,795 yards and 16 touchdowns.

But it's not just his touchdown numbers that make Patterson stand out. He ranks 17th all-time in kick return attempts, ninth in yardage, and third in kick return average. His blazing speed and elusive moves have made him a nightmare for opposing coverage units, leaving defenders grasping at thin air as he races towards the end zone.

As Patterson prepares to don the black and gold of the Steelers, fans are eager to see what he brings to the table. Will he be able to reignite the team's return game and provide a much-needed spark? Can he replicate his past success and become a dynamic playmaker on offense? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: Cordarrelle Patterson's arrival in Pittsburgh has the potential to change the game.

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