Steelers New RB Knile Davis Expects To Return Kickoffs


The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been very successful when it comes to kickoff returns over the course of the last several seasons and on Monday they potentially added a player to their roster who can hopefully help in that phase of the game when they signed free agent running back Knile Davis to a one-year contract.

Davis admitted during his talk with the Pittsburgh media on Monday that he’ll likely get every chance to be the Steelers kickoff returner during the 2017 season.

“I’ve done well in the past with kickoff returns and I feel like I can come here and help the Steelers out,” Davis said. “So, that’s going to be a big role for me.”

During his first four seasons in the league, Davis, who was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Arkansas, returned 73 kickoffs for 1,960 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, six of those returns went for 40 yards or more and he’s only fumbled during a return once.

So, why did Davis only get to return 9 kickoffs last season with the Chiefs before ultimately being traded to the Green Bay Packers in October?


“We had Tyreek Hill, he came and did a good job for the Chiefs, took some of my returns away as well as De’Anthony Thomas,” Davis said, “I think we were a great core, great group and I think we did well but my time there had expired.”

To put Davis’ return stats and more specifically his 26.8 yards per return average in perspective, the Steelers averaged 21.5 a return last season, 24.2 yards in 2015 and 21.7 in 2014.

While many fans of the team are probably excited about what Davis can bring as a kickoff returner, the Steelers newest offensive addition also believes he can complement starting running back Le’Veon Bell as well as fill in for him should he go down injured again.

“I feel like they’re confident that I can,” Davis said. “I have had to fill in before. I’ve had 100-yard games in this league. I’ve done well in this league and I’m prepared for whatever comes in the future.”

Davis has averaged 3.2 yards per carry since entering the NFL and has done so on just 250 total carries. As far as 100-yard rushing games go, Davis has registered two of them during his career and they happened in back-to-back games early during the 2014 regular season. Now that he’s with the Steelers, Davis looks forward to playing with and learning from Bell.

“I know Le’Veon, great guy, awesome football player,” Davis said of his new backfield counterpart. “I think he’s done a lot of good for the league. I think he’s changed the way the position is being played with his footwork and his patience. There’s a lot that I can learn from him, a lot that I have learned from him just by watching him and I think he’s one of the best backs in the league. It will be a good opportunity for me to get a chance to play with him.”

Davis also indicated Monday that he doesn’t expect to have any issues when it comes to picking up the Steelers play book.

“I kind of have a good feel for what they do as an offense,” Davis said.

  • Rod Hedrick

    I like Davis, I hope he can return kicks!

  • Jacob

    Don’t hold your breath. Every year they bring in an exciting new player to handle kick returns and it has fizzled each time.

    I think they need a second special teams coach who knows how to scheme kick returns. Danny Smith has done great on defending returns, but we haven’t had a kick return game since Danny joined the Steelers.

  • RickM

    The 4.4 is carries per game. His yardage average per carry is only 3.2

  • The Sun is Pro-Black

    Look on the bright side. At least they won’t waste a draft pick on another dri archer type. At least I hope so.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Davis will be a great addition to the ST’s. No real knock on Sammie because he did what the coaches asked him to do plus he played with the finger injury but I won’t miss Sammie catching kickoffs and running to the right sideline on just about every kickoff or the up man Fitz who’s no threat .

  • AndyR34

    Where’s the blocking going to come from?

  • Darth Blount 47

    Oh, hell…. he can’t be any worse than what we’ve had back there. If that’s not enough of a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what else you want out of me.
    This off-season has been exhausting. And it’s still not over. Is it draft day yet?

    As long as we draft some OLB’s, some more CB’s, a REAL backup for Bell, maybe luck into Reddick or Obi up front, and find a sleeper late who pans out, I’ll be satisfied. I can already tell, I’m going to be hanging onto every – single – pick come this draft because apparently, ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS are gonna be solved during it.

    Knile, I hope you and Danny Boy Smith make beautiful music together. Just remember, if you can’t make it out past the 25 now…… just kneel the eff down.

  • Alan Tman

    Can someone please explain why GB cut this guy after one day after they traded for him last year?

  • SteelersDepot

    he played in two games with the Packers. The Jets are the team that claimed him and immediately waived him.

  • Alan Tman

    What’s the reason they both dropped him so fast?

  • Steelers12

    Roster turnover Happens all the time in nfl

  • RickM

    The Packers just weren’t impressed. They were willing to give up a conditional 7th rounder in 2018, and then he got 5 yards in 5 carries. Just checked on the Jets and they wanted C.J. Spiller, but he was unavailable when they signed Davis. A day later he was available and they released Davis.

  • Alan Tman

    I have been watching the NFL a long time, and these GM’s are not in the business of giving away draft picks. Especially GB, so they dropped this guy for a reason. Only two weeks after trading for him.

  • Ryan Alderman

    I’m open minded.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Why not one for extra points, one for field goal tries, one for onside kicks…

  • Steelers12

    It was a low draft pick, after packers traded for him Montgomery emerged so he was expendable

  • Rocksolid20

    LMAO !

  • RickM

    It was a conditional pick. I assume they looked, didn’t like and moved on quickly with no draft pick sacrificed.

  • Jason

    That’s a rare quality on this site. Reading the comments you’d think we gave up a first rd pick and released Bell to aquire this guy.

  • Jack Hambert

    Really, it is about returning punts. Not many kicks are returned anymore. I’d sacrifice punt returns in favor of more actual offense. We looked pretty pedestrian at the end of the year.

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  • Soliciting Steelers

    Yea, and so did Jordan Toddman! 🙂

  • Soliciting Steelers

    Yea, so did Jordan Toddman! Then goes to Colts and 96 yards later….

  • LucasY59

    they do have that one guy thats pretty decent at returning punts, they call him AB

  • LucasY59

    I was kinda surprised the Steelers brought him in after it wouldve been easy to get him last yr and they showed no interest (but they were still trying to see if the Karlos experiment would work out at that time)

    I think the signing is fine since it is likely a deal close to the minimum and they arent expecting him to be anything more than depth (and possibly a KR)

    the teams that were adding and dropping him needed #1 RB options and I dont think he is a very good for that kind of role (can play a couple games if needed, especially if things are going well for him, but as his career avg/carry shows, he is not effective as a longer term starter type RB)

  • LucasY59

    I think Davis might be the up man and Ayers (…or Coates again) could be the main returner

  • LucasY59

    funny thing is that if he can scheme to stop returns he should know which returns are hard to stop and be able to come up with some decent return schemes as well

  • Jack Hambert

    Agreed, but they don’t want him risking injury in that role.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Fingers crossed it’s not Coates

  • NimbusHex

    Honestly at this point I don’t care who is backing Bell up, the question is can the coaching staff figure out a proper balance between Bell and whoever else.

  • Alan Tman

    What happened with Karlos? I saw he got cut about a week ago..

  • LucasY59

    I think they decided his contributions werent worth the headache (I believe he still had one game left to serve on his suspension, and have been waiting to hear if he is in trouble again)