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.