Gunner Olszewski should know better.
The Pittsburgh Steelers activated the wide receiver for Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns, after fellow receiver Diontae Johnson went on the IR. Olszewski also got pressed into duty as the team’s kick returner after an injury to Anthony McFarland, who also went on IR Monday.
Seemed to be a smart move for the Steelers, given Olszewski’s track record. The fifth-year player made the Pro Bowl as a punt returner with the New England Patriots in 2020.
But he clearly should have brushed up on the kickoff return rules before Monday’s game. Dropping back for a return late in the first quarter, Olszewski angled over to the left sideline as the ball headed out of bounds. Then, Olszewski inexplicably caught the ball at the 9-yard line, deftly tapping his toes like a receiver in the end zone to make sure he was in bounds.
The good news: Great toe-tapping skills from
The bad news: Receiving a kickoff is not the time you want to show those skills off. pic.twitter.com/Ayygvyeszx
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 19, 2023
Olszewski immediately pointed out of bounds, as if he’d caught the ball simply to save the crew trouble going after it. Had the kick gone out of bounds, the Steelers would have taken possession at their 40-yard line.
But the official quickly ruled he’d caught the ball in bounds, and by the time the Steelers snapped the ball, fans were already reacting to the boneheaded play on social media.
Literally one toe out and it's a penalty 🤪
— Keith Marrero (@keefND) September 19, 2023
This might be the worst football IQ display I’ve ever seen. Truly remarkable how bad it is.
— Jason Stewart (@jcshome) September 19, 2023
Gunner Olszewski has had an absolute disaster day so far. My goodness.
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) September 19, 2023
I never understood why he is even on the roster insane
— Landon Longfellow (@Landon9294) September 19, 2023
I’m convinced that Gunner Olszewski is still on Bill Belichick’s payroll
— Eric Simon (@esimon36) September 19, 2023
Things didn’t get any easier for Olszewski, who fumbled after a catch a few minutes later and was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a head injury.
[Photo Credit: ESPN]