Franks Still Full-Time Punt Returner

Franks Still Full-Time Punt Returner

Jay Adams

Published November 12, 2012 at 3:50 PM

During the game’s most crucial punt return Sunday, the Falcons’ go-to returner was on the sideline. Wide receiver Harry Douglas trotted onto the field and got settled in at the position while Dominique Franks stood by.

Head coach Mike Smith explained Monday that the decision was a product of feeling like Douglas would give the Falcons the best chance at good field position for the game’s biggest drive.

“We felt like we wanted to give Harry an opportunity to catch the punt,” head coach Mike Smith said Monday. “It was a backed-up punt situation. We wanted to get as many yards as we can. We’re not, in our mind, in a position to have Harry as a full-time punt returner. He’s done it in the past, and we felt like it gave us an opportunity to get the most yards on the return.”

Douglas returned punts for the Falcons in 2008 before a knee injury kept him out in 2009, but hasn’t held the job since. Franks was originally part of the Falcons’ final cutdown to the 53-man roster, but was re-signed after Tim Toone — who was slated to return punts — was injured during the first week of the season.

Douglas didn’t net any yards on his one return. Franks caught two punts Sunday — one for a 9-yard return and the other was a fair catch.

Franks, Smith said, will remain as the Falcons’ full-time punt returner.

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