With the departure of free agent Eric Weems, the Atlanta Falcons are trying to decide who the next punt returner will be. Cornerback Brent Grimes could be part of the solution for the Falcons.
It’s not uncommon in the NFL to have a defensive back double as a kick returner. Atlanta fans may be familiar with a guy who used to do that in a Falcons uniform named Deion Sanders. Right now the Falcons are pretty well stocked at the cornerback position after adding Asante Samuel this off-season to franchise player Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson.
It’s this depth that may give Atlanta some multiple options when it comes to the opening slot at punt returner.
Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Grimes has done some work fielding punts during off-season practices, and will continue to do some work on it. But Grimes has made it clear that because of his position as one of the starters on defense, he may not be the Falcons’ first option as a kick returner.
Grimes joked, “I’m like ‘In case of emergency, break glass,’”
Grimes is currently tagged as the Falcons franchise player under a one-year contract, and could possibly leave the team for free agency in 2013 if a long-term deal isn’t reached this season.
Other possible candidates who have been mentioned for returning punts are veteran wide receiver Harry Douglas, cornerback Dominque Franks (who used to return kicks in college for Oklahoma) and rookie wide receiver/kick returner James Rodgers.