Just a Thought... Exploring All Returns

The Eagles have to address their special teams with possibly adding a proven kick and punt returner. Bringing back Reno Mahe or Jeremy Bloom are possible options, but how about bringing in a veteran cornerback who's able to be a return specialist?

A day after the special teams, notably J.R. Reed and Greg Lewis, cost the Eagles a win in their season opener against the Packers, the hot news in Philadelphia is the possible return of Reno Mahe.

Mahe, who played with the Eagles the previous three seasons, is currently out of the NFL and searching for work. Not known as a speedster, Mahe is a consistent return specialist who has sure hands and doesn’t take too many risks on the field.

Today, at Head Coach Andy Reid’s day after the game press conference, Reid was asked if the reports of Mahe’s return were true. Reid responded, “not necessarily" true.

What you can take from that is, “We’re looking, but not necessarily at Mahe.”

Another option for the Eagles may be to bring back Jeremy Bloom. The former Olympian skier, Bloom was released prior to the start of the regular season. During the preseason, Bloom showed consistency in catching punts and kickoffs, but didn’t show the acceleration the Eagles were looking for after he reportedly injured his toe in the preseason opener against Baltimore.

One story to watch is the health of Pro Bowl cornerback Lito Sheppard. Sheppard sprained his MCL in the first half of yesterday’s 16 – 13 defeat to the Packers. The Eagles could make some calls around the league and inquire about a possible trade for a veteran cornerback/return specialist.

One name that could be available to the Eagles is New York Jets third-year cornerback Justin Miller. Miller, a second round draft pick of the Jets in 2005, made his first Pro Bowl this past season, but he may be expendable.

Miller, 23, returns kickoffs for the Jets, but has experience returning punts. The Jets have an excess of talent that can return kickoffs and punts on their current roster. Darrelle Revis (the Jets’ first round pick in 2007), Leon Washington, Brad Smith, and Chansi Stuckey are all capable of being return men in the NFL.

At this point, the Eagles have to do something, anything, to get a quality return man. To acquire a player of Miller’s abilities the Eagles may have to deal a high round draft pick. But with the Eagles due to have a lot of selections in next year’s draft, investigating Miller’s availability may be a worthy call.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber is the Editor in Chief of WarNest.com and an NFL Analyst for Scout.com. Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. If you have any questions for Chris, email him at csteuber@scout.com.

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