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Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Anxious To See If Reggie Dunn Can Handle Punts


Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert held a conference call for season ticket holders on Tuesday and during the session he was asked to give his thoughts on Reggie Dunn, the undrafted free agent kick returner extraordinaire out of Utah.

"He is an exciting player. He ran in the 4.3s on his pro day," said Colbert. "Reggie didn’t have a lot of production as a receiver or a runner, but on kick returns – I believe without checking – he had 10 kickoff returns and four of those were for touchdowns.

"He isn’t the biggest guy. He is extremely fast. We know what he can do as a kickoff returner, we’re anxious to see how he can handle punts. He really didn’t do a lot of punt returns at Utah because they had others who were, quite honestly, better during his time there. We’re excited because the speed (is something) you can’t teach. You have to give that young man the opportunity to prove what he can or can’t do on the field."

Dunn has created quite a stir since being signed by the Steelers after word spread that he set NCAA records for kickoff returns for touchdowns in a season (four), 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in a career (five), and 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in a game (two).

As far as his punt returning and receiving abilities go, Dunn only returned one punt during his career at Utah for seven yards and only caught 31 passes for 355 yards and a touchdown in the 38 games that he played in.

In 2012, freshman Charles Henderson was Utah\'s primary punt returner, but his lowly 5.31 yards per return average makes you wonder why Dunn wasn\'t used in that role. According to Colbert, he certainly will get an opportunity to perform that duty in training camp. At 5093 and 178 pounds, Dunn will also have a lot to prove as a receiver in training camp in addition.

As I pointed out in a post after Dunn was signed, he has a huge uphill battle ahead of him as it relates to making the Steelers 53 man roster. Until he shows otherwise, he must be regarded as a one-trick pony. Speed certainly does kill and his one trick is certainly quite spectacular, but if that is all that he brings to the table, the Steelers aren\'t likely to keep around.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • DAYSNWAYS

    If this kid can prove during pre-season that he can field, and return punts, in the same vain as kick-offs, we gotta keep him. We’ve kept a return specialist before,
    I have no quarms with keeping him on the 53 man roster over some wideout who is never going to see the field.

    It’s all on him.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    100 yard kickoff returns are my favorite trick.

  • r4kolb

    I’d like to see Haley come up with a couple of plays where he can get him the ball on a short pass (bubble screen) and give him the opportunity to make a move or 2 and he……could…….go……all…..the……way!!

  • TJimmy

    Wallace’s one trick served him well. Maybe Dunn could actually go long and catch a pass as well? It isn’t rocket science.

  • zyzak

    I expect him to be among the first cuts

  • John Hinton

    This could prove to be one of the more exciting Training Camps in recent memory.

  • steeltown

    Maybe not the first, but when you have guys like Stephens-Howling, David Gilreath, Kashif Moore, Justin Brown and even Emmanuel Sanders on roster who can all play WR/RB and return kicks… then it makes his chances of making the roster very small being that he is not known for receiving ability

  • Ahmad

    It may be one trick, but if that one trick can get us good field position or a couple of scores on special teams, I’m all for it.

  • steeltown

    The issue is we don’t have an established ‘PUNT’ returner.. Stephens-Howling and/or Emmanuel Sanders can be the kick returners, but we really don’t have a guy that has a ton of experience returning punts. I think that’s what Colbert is hinting at, that’s what he wants to find. Might be a battle between Gilreath and Dunn for the PR job… Gilreath is a more established WR

  • David Edward

    Well actually you are forgetting that AB is an experienced PR, but I think they want to move him off that role since he’s the #1 WR.

  • David Edward

    I have said all along that I would like to see what Dunn can do before writing him off. If he proves to be the best returner then I would rather have him on the 53 man than a 6th CB who is a liability in the secondary. He’s basically the same size as Rainey and he may be able to do some things out of the backfield on screens..also might be effective on those WR screens Haley likes to run. Of course, LSH is a similar type of player so it will be interesting. If a PR doesn’t emerge during camp, I’d put Sanders out there and let him earn the big paycheck he expects (probably from another team anyway).

  • steeltown

    Completely agree.. I have not forgotten.. but there’s no way they’ll risk injury to Brown at this point.

  • Stephen Dale

    I believe Justin Brown will be the punt return specialist.

  • Shelob9

    Rainey didn’t play any kick coverage if my memory is correct. Too small. He got the roster spot for being a draft pick that might develop into a third down back/ return man. I don’t see them cutting Stephens-Howling, Gilreath or the new WR named Brown for a guy who can only return kicks.

  • Shelob9

    Great speed does not make someone an NFL WR, but it should in college unless he’s got total shit for hands. Makes me worry about his ability to hold onto the ball on returns.

  • grw1960

    agree.
    I hate specialists that can only do one thing. It eats up a roster spot.However this team desperatly needs to find a way to score more points.
    and I hate it when the Steelers lose because the other team has the best specialist and the only touch downs they have is due to there special teams.

  • westcoasteeler

    It’s all about health. I was looking forward to seeing Spence play…

  • charles

    Very interested to see this guy, other 40 times clocked him as much as 2 seconds faster than Wallace. I think Dunn is a very intelligent gamblle. The steelers under Colbert and Tomlin keep looking for a punt returner like Desmond Hunter (?) Green Bays MVP. Dunn has cost us nothing and only has up potential. Logan was a little disappointing as was Rainey maybe third try will give us a gift….

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