Detroit Lions Will Host Receiver Brad Smith on Tuesday Visit


The fact that the Detroit Lions didn’t draft a receiver to use in a kick-returning role was disconcerting to some, especially considering the tough year Jeremy Ross had.

As it turns out, that might not mean the Lions are completely happy with Ross, nor mean they are not content to look around on the open market to perhaps add some competition to the mix. Tuesday, the team will host receivers Brad Smith and Robert Meachem per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Each has return experience.

More from Lions News

In the fold already is veteran receiver Lance Moore, rookie Ameer Abdullah, star wideout Golden Tate and Ross, all of whom can be expected to see reps throughout camp returning the ball on special teams.

Smith, 31, is a player who’s been there and done that as a veteran of special teams wars. He’s returned four career kicks for touchdowns, and has played for the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and most recently the Philadelphia Eagles.

If Ross is in danger of losing his job, nobody’s yet told him. The receiver recently expressed optimism at retaining his role, saying in a story by’s Justin Rogers that he plans to give it his all to outwork the competition.

"“I definitely want to be back there,” Ross said. “I love being back as a return man, I love doing punt returns, kick returns. It’s an exciting place to be. You get to make a lot of big plays for your team, so it’s definitely important.”If Ross wants to keep the job, he’s going to have to earn it with a strong performance this offeseason. As far as he’s concerned, the only competition he has to worry about is the one with himself.“If I’m out there not giving my best and I’m not the return man, that’s on me,” Ross said. “If I give my best, give everything I’ve got to being the best I can be and I don’t get it, hey, more power to you, you’re just better.”"

Apparently, the Lions could be looking to add one more veteran piece to the receiver puzzle anyway. In addition to Smith, the team will host Meachem on Tuesday, though Meachem has less of a history in a return role. He started 10 games between 2008 and 2009 for the New Orleans Saints and collected 157 yards with a long gain of 42.

Smith’s special teams resume is more comprehensive, as he was a star returner who made plenty of memorable plays for the Jets. He’s racked up 2,873 total yards as a returner. This experience alone could give him the leg up in any possible match-up with Meachem or another free agent.

The more competition for Detroit the better. Behind Ross last season, there was a drop off with nobody else capable of consistently returning kicks. That meant other than Tate, Ross was the only player with the experience to do the job. Detroit had nowhere else to turn when he struggled.

If the Lions sign either Smith or Meachem, that will give them three veterans including Ross and Moore who have experience in a return role and five total players who could do the job to weed through before the start of the 2015 season.

Those numbers alone could ensure the position doesn’t endure a repeat of a rough 2014 season.

More from SideLion Report