Sproles has the numbers on his side, marking two kick returns converted into scores. He was one of seven players in the NFL to top 1,000 yards in kickoff return yards (1,008) and returned 29 punts for 229 yards and a touchdown.
While Sproles should feel confident he will tackle the same duties in the upcoming season, the loss of Michael Turner to the Atlanta Falcons is bound to change the dynamics. Sproles will be summoned to play a more significant role in the Bolts' running game, forcing him to focus more on offense this season. With the rise of Buster Davis and the addition of Mark Jones, Sproles' duties could be altered.
PR Buster Davis
With one year of experience under his belt, he will be expected to demonstrate more consistency.
"The good thing about having Buster playing is that he adds energy and is able to contribute," Norv Turner said. "The thing that I take the most pride in is the development of young players."
Davis returned six punts for 52 yards last season with a long of 24 yards. With that success and his natural ability on the field, he's primed for an expanded role.
But with the recent addition of Jones, a new element has been ignited among return-specialist competitors. With four years of experience in the NFL, Jones joins the Bolts after spending the last three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his career, Jones has recorded 117 punt returns for 1,017 yards (8.7 avg).
Although Jones suffered a knee injury that landed him on the injured-reserve list in the first half of last season, he has fully recovered and is prepared to give a top-notch showing at training camp.
GM A.J. Smith is confident in Jones' ability to raise the caliber of the roster.
"Mark's versatility was very attractive to us," Smith said. "He's an experienced NFL punt returner and a solid player who will raise the level of competition in our camp."
With training camp just ahead, expect the competing trio to scuffle for return duties through the end of August.