According to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com, receiver Jeremy Maclin will get a chance to fill those duties, too.
“Yeah, we’ll look at Mac back there,” coach Chip Kelly said, via Mosher. “Again, it’s May, so we’re going to take a look at him and Damaris [Johnson] and DeSean and Nick Miller. Russell Shepard is a guy that’s returned punts before, one of the rookies that’s out here. So we’ll get a bunch of those guys because you never know in a game; all of a sudden two guys are hurt.”
Maclin, who returned punts and kickoffs in college, has 76 career NFL punt return yards. In 2012, he returned no punts or kickoffs for the first time as an Eagle.
“When you’ve only got a 46-man [game] roster, someone has got to go back there, and hopefully it’s someone that’s fielded punts before,” Kelly said. “[Maclin] has got some experience at it, but we’ll take a look at him. But does that mean he’s going to be our starting punt returner? I have absolutely no idea right now.”
The added duties could be a blessing and a curse for Maclin. In his contract year, the versatility could make him more attractive to a new team. But it also increases the risk of injury, which if bad enough could significantly limit his market value.