Cameron Sutton Preparing to Be in Punt Return Mix for Steelers

Noah Strackbein

With the injury to Ryan Switzer's back, the Steelers are using alternative options in the punt return game for Week 11. Diontae Johnson has returned 4 punts for 33 yards this season as the primary backup this season, but hasn't been the only player preparing for Switzer's absence. 

Pittsburgh could also set cornerback Cameron Sutton deep, in Cleveland. The third-year corner confirmed he took return reps during the team's only practice of the week, alongside Johnson. 

Sutton doesn't know how the return game will play out on Thursday night, but said the team is preparing for the absence of Switzer. Head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that Switzer was one of the players who could miss Week 11 because of the short week of preparation. 

"I guess it's kind of just a precautionary measure since we don't know the status of Switz right now," Sutton said. "Kind of just playing it by ear and seeing what happens."

Sutton is no stranger to the return game. During his time at Tennessee he averaged 14.3 yards per return, and led the nation in punt return yards in 2015, averaging 18 yards per return. 

Throughout his time in Pittsburgh, Sutton hasn't seen a punt return. Utilized as more of a special teams ace, the third-round pick has adapted to playing a different role in the return game, but hasn't completely stopped catching punts. 

"I catch pre-practice and stuff, so it's not really a knew thing," Sutton said. "Obviously we have had guys that are returners, they more so get the reps while I'm on special teams, I'm on punt return and I'm a part of the front ten. So it's not really me getting reps then since I'm more involved in what's going on at the line of scrimmage."