Phased Out

Rabih Abdullah averaged 31.6 yards per kick return in the preseason including a long of 49 yards against the Broncos (Aug. 10). In three games Leon Johnson has handled the bulk of the returns with eight (16.3 yards per return), while Abdullah has receiver five for an average of 22.2 yards per attempt.

Following Johnson's poor performance against the Saints opponents could continue to kick away from Abdullah. However, Ahmad Merritt is due back for either the Green Bay game (Oct. &) or following the bye week at Detroit (Oct. 20) the return game will look different.

"Ahmad Merritt will be another guy we look at. He's always been in that role. He's done it for us on occasion. So he'll step back in when and if he's healthy."

Although, head coach Dick Jauron called Johnson's performance an "tremendous aberration" the Bears need a boost from their special teams. Chicago is allowing 27 yards per kick return, while averaging just 18.5.

Merritt should replace Johnson on kick and punt returns, while Abdullah remains on kickoffs.

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