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Gunner Olszewski: Doubt me? I hope you do

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Gunner Olszewski began the 2022 season as the Steelers punt returner, but was replaced after he muffed two punts in a three-game span.

Olszewski had signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh in free agency after three seasons with New England. He led the league with 17.3 yards per punt return in 2020, which led to him being named a first-team, All-Pro returner that year.

But in Week Two of last season, he muffed a punt against his former team — a critical blow that led to a touchdown in the Steelers’ 17-14 loss to the Patriots.

“You can’t change it,” Olszewski said, via Chris Adamski of TribLive.com. “If you want to define me by one play, go ahead. But doubt me? I hope you do .”

Olszewski has a chance to get back to his All-Pro form in 2023. But he’s expecting plenty of competition for it.

“I feel like they are hopefully going to try to give everybody in that room a chance to put their best foot forward, and I look forward to putting my best foot forward in the preseason,” he said.

“You have to earn a spot at the table, and that’s what’s so special about this game. … Last year, it felt like the job was given to me, and I don’t want that again. I have never had anything handed to me, so I am looking forward to proving myself to the coaches and my teammates.”

Undrafted rookie Jordan Byrd is likely Olszewski’s competition for the return spot, as he was an All-Mountain West honoree as a kick returner and punt returner for San Diego State.

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