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Smith: Douglas, Quizz In The Lead For Return Jobs


While the Falcons haven't looked at kick returners very much during open practices in training camp, the punt returner's job has been hotly contested with as many as five players competing for that job.

Veteran wide receiver Harry Douglas performed that role for the Falcons in 2008 and he was viewed as the player with the inside track on the job during the offseason. In recent comments, Falcons head coach Mike Smith has said Douglas has a good shot at winning the job because of his history and how well he's done it.

After Monday's combined practice with the Titans in Dalton, Ga., Smith confirmed that Douglas is still the leader and barring outstanding results from some other player in the preseason, he will be the punt returner. He added that backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers is the front runner for the kick return job.

"I think we're going to look at a couple of guys but right now Harry would probably be the guy that is going to catch some punts and Quizz will be the guy that will return some kickoffs," Smith said. "We have some other guys on our roster that we need to evaluate and that's what the preseason is for. There will be a number of guys that will get an opportunity to do it in the first preseason game."

Antone Smith is another name that has been associated with the kick returner's job, but Smith's value as a cover man on special teams may be too valuable to release him to kick returns. Dominique Franks, Tim Toone and James Rodgers will continue to get looks at punt returner through the preseason, but likely as a reserve only.

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