While most Detroit Lions fans will be fine with anyone but Stefan Logan handling return duties this season, someone will actually have to win the job.
The Lions have a number of candidates to return punts and kicks but according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, undrafted free agent Steven Miller will be first up to show what he can do:
Miller, who went undrafted in April, reported with the other rookies Monday and will get first crack at the vacant punt- and kick-return jobs when they open training camp with their first practice Friday.
Veterans report Thursday.
“I love the fact that I have a legitimate shot right now,” Miller told the Free Press on Monday. “I plan on proving to everybody that I can actually fulfill that role.”
After participating in rookie minicamp and OTAs, it’s a vote of confidence in Miller. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be facing competition. The Lions also signed veteran return man Micheal Spurlock as a free agent.
Miller also faces competition in the form of a roster crunch. The Lions have been willing to use one of their 53 roster spots on a dedicated return man but Ryan Broyles, Joique Bell, Patrick Edwards and Reggie Bush are all players who could handle some return duties while also filling a spot on the offensive depth chart. This is an important factor should the Lions find themselves tempted to keep a fourth tight end or an extra defensive lineman.
For his part, Miller wants to come in and show he can make a difference. Again from the Freep:
“I have to prove that not only can I obviously catch the ball, but I can make something happen when I get the ball into my hands,” he said. “I don’t want to just be able to catch and then not do anything with it, I want to make things happen. Anything that I can do to help the team win. If that means return a couple for touchdowns, yeah, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”
That’s music to Lions fans’ ears after watching Stefan Logan field fair catch after fair catch as a punt returner and routinely leave the end zone on kickoff returns only to fail to reach the 20-yard line.