NFL Rumors: Detroit Lions Have New Return Specialist

By Chris Katje
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

In a bad loss to the Atlanta Falcons during Saturday Night Football, the Detroit Lions have many areas that looked poor and needed improvement. Perhaps no area struggled more than the special teams return effort of Stefan Logan.

During Saturday’s game, Logan did the unthinkable on a play towards the end of the game. The Lions gained some momentum in a game they trailed with a safety on running back Michael Turner. After the safety, the Falcons punted the ball back to the Lions. Logan received the ball at the four-yard line with plenty of room and took a knee. That’s right, he took a knee out of the end zone and gave the Lions a 96 yard path to the end zone (Video Here).

Head coach Jim Schwartz was amazed by the play. Schwartz told reporters, “That’s probably the first time I’ve seen somebody concede a punt in the field of play like that. It’s a poor decision.” Logan’s poor decision has now cost him a starting position on special teams.

Earlier this season the Lions acquired wide receiver Mike Thomas from the Jacksonville Jaguars. At the time, Thomas was seen as a receiver option to replace injured Nate Burleson. Now, Thomas will enter Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears as the primary return man. I predicted Thomas would eventually take over the role after the trades, since Logan has struggled all season to regain his 2010 Pro Bowl alternate form.

Thomas was a return man in his 2009 NFL rookie season. The Jaguars rookie returned 26 kickoffs for 644 yards, good enough for a 24.8 yard average. Thomas also returned 75 punts for 620 yards and a touchdown over his NFL career.

Perhaps Thomas can provide a spark in the last game of the season for the Lions. In the Lions previous matchup against the Bears, Logan muffed two punts and might have cost the Lions a win in a close 13-7 loss. Look for Thomas to have something to prove going into the 2013 season with a strong performance against the Bears.

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