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Being a rookie punting sensation is all fun and games until you boot one 20 yards

Pressley Harvin III, the Steelers rookie punting sensation, hasn’t quite lived up to his billing as a seventh-round pick. Can he recover in time before people begin to notice?

NFL: SEP 26 Bengals at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Like I said right before the start of the Steelers 2021 regular season, Pressley Harvin III, the rookie punting sensation from Georgia Tech, the seventh-round draft choice, the kid that finally allowed me to justify my “Anyone But Jordan Berry” t-shirt, would probably be better off if nobody really noticed him at all during his debut campaign.

Yes, I know that opening paragraph was filled with a bunch of commas and just ran on forever, but I did that to distract you from Harvin’s horrid game against the Packers on Sunday, a 27-17 loss at Lambeau Field.

Speaking of distractions, it’s a good thing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has spent the first four games of the 2021 season missing his receivers the way henchmen with machine guns and lots of bullets always miss the good guys in those fictional television shows. Otherwise, we may be more aware of the fact that Harvin has averaged just 41.8 yards per punt through his first four games.

Speaking of distractions, it’s a good thing the Steelers are 1-3 and have far worse concerns than their rookie punter. Otherwise, people may have already noticed that the beleaguered Berry, who came into the season averaging 44.4 yards per punt during his career—or 2.6 yards more than Harvin has averaged so far—is booming the ball to the tune of 48.5 yards per punt in 2021 as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, clearly a team that knows its punters.

I’m not so sure Harvin can hide any longer, especially after Sunday’s performance in which he averaged just 34 yards on three punts. Harvin’s most egregious boot came midway through the third quarter when the Steelers only trailed by 10 points and may have thought they were still in it. Punting from his own 20, Harvin “launched” a kick that traveled just 20 yards.

I had just gotten into my car to go bowling when I heard Craig Wolfley, the Steelers color analyst on their radio network, say something like, “Gadzooks, Billy, he really shanked it.”

Wolf’s word usage is always noticeable when listening to him on the radio, and this particular verbiage helped to paint a bleak picture at that point in the game: “Aaron Rodgers, who hadn’t sweated the Steelers up to that point, was about to get the ball at the visitors’ 40 and possibly put the final nail in the Steelers’ coffin.”

He did.

Gadzooks, indeed.

It’s a good thing Harvin’s new boss, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is busy worrying about superstar groins, superstar egos (mainly, Roethlisberger’s) and all of those social media #FireTomlins that are starting to spring up again like weeds in an abandoned junkyard. Otherwise, he may want to reevaluate his punting situation.

That’s the thing about punters. It doesn’t matter when they were drafted or even that they were drafted. Oh, sure, being a punter who was drafted in the seventh round may be helpful in making your first NFL roster, but after that, your name is likely always etched in pencil.

I’m still rooting for the young punter, even if his nickname—Thicc Kick—is the nickname version of the word moist—it just sounds icky and naughty when you say it out loud.

Hopefully, Harvin can learn from the not-so-promising start to his rookie season and improve at his craft.

If not, there won’t be many more things that can prevent people from noticing that he’s not Jordan Berry—but in a bad way this time.