NFL’s best-ever kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson signs two-year, $6m deal with the Steelers… as Pittsburgh hopes to take advantage of new rules

  • Patterson has more kickoffs for a touchdown than any other player
  • The NFL recently adopted a new kickoff procedure for next season
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One of the best returners in NFL history has signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers just hours after owners agreed to new kickoff rules.

Cordarrelle Patterson has signed a $6 million deal that will last two years in the Steel City.

Patterson is a good offensive player who struggled to stay on the field last season for the Atlanta Falcons.

But he is best known for his return skills: he has returned more kickoffs for a touchdown than any other player in NFL history.

Throughout his career, he has posted 7,989 return yards and nine kickoff returns for a touchdown.

Former Atlanta Falcons utility player Cordarrelle Patterson has signed with the Steelers

Patterson is best known for his productive abilities as one of the best kickoff returners in history

Patterson is best known for his productive abilities as one of the best kickoff returners in history

That’s because the NFL has made a radical one-season change to its kickoff procedure.

For a standard kickoff, the ball would be kicked from the 35-yard line, with the 10 kick coverage players lined up facing the 40 opponents, with five on each side of the field.

The return team would have at least nine blockers lined up in the ‘line up zone’ between the 30 and 35 yard line, with at least seven of those players touching the 35. A maximum of two returning players would be allowed inside the 20-yard line. .

Only the kicker and two returners were allowed to move until the ball touched the ground or was touched by a returner inside the 20.

Any kick that reaches the end zone in the air can be returned, or the receiving team can opt for a touchback and possession of the ball at the 30. Any kick that reaches the end zone in the air and goes out of bounds or out of the end zone would also result in a touchback at the 30.

Patterson has more kickoff returns for a touchdown than any other player in the NFL

Patterson has more kickoff returns for a touchdown than any other player in the NFL

If a ball hits a returner or the ground before the end zone and enters the end zone, a touchback would occur at the 20 or the play could be given back. Every kick received on the playing field must be returned.

Under current rules, any touchback – or if a returner calls for a fair catch in the field of play – results in the receiving team getting the ball at its 25.

“This is our chance to keep special teams in the game,” NFL Competition Committee Chairman Rich McKay said Monday, now calling the current kickoff a dead game.

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