Source: USA TODAY
The Josh Cribbs free-agent tour made its next stop in Detroit on Monday, but coach Jim Schwartz wouldn’t say much about the Lions’ interest in the Pro Bowl return man.
“I think I’ll just reserve any comments,” Schwartz said after minicamp Sunday. “We generally don’t comment on guys that we bring in. I will acknowledge that he’s scheduled to come in, but where that goes, how it develops and if that develops where he ends up on our team then I’ll comment more on that.”
Cribbs holds an NFL record with eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns and averaged 12 yards on a career-high-tying 38 punt returns last year.
The soon-to-be 30-year-old receiver/return man visited the Raiders, Jets and Giants last week, but he is still recuperating from off-season knee surgery.
The Lions were one of the NFL’s worst return units last year, ranking 31st in the league in kick-return average and 22nd on punt returns.
Stefan Logan, who handled return duties most of the last three years, remains a free agent and isn’t expected back.
During rookie camp this week, the Lions auditioned several return options, including Appalachian State running back Steven Miller (who never handled return duties in college but impressed Lions special-teams coordinator John Bonamego with his return ability during a pro-day workout), practice-squad receiver Patrick Edwards and cornerback Lionel Smith.
“We have guys on our team who can do it,” Schwartz said. “It’s one of the reasons we drafted Ryan Broyles. We haven’t been able to (use him as a return man) because of his injuries, but he was very good at it in college. He was a four-year producer as a punt returner.
“So whether a guy wins the job strictly as a return specialist or whether we compartmentalize it and have one guy as a kick returner, one guy as a punt returner, we have a lot of other guys that can do it.”
Birkett writes for the Detroit Free Press, a Gannett property.