This isn’t the way Aaron Ross wanted to get it, but it’s definitely the opportunity he’s been seeking for several years. He’s been itching to take his shot at being an NFL punt returner.
Now, with Domenik Hixon lost for the season, he’s going to get his chance.
The return game, though, will get the most attention and figures to be a wide-open competition this summer. Ross and receiver Mario Manningham are the top candidates to handle punt returns, but receiver Sinorice Moss and rookie safety Chad Jones could factor in as well. Safety Antrel Rolle and running back Ahmad Bradshaw have the ability to return punts too, though they’re not likely to be immediately involved.
Bradshaw, though, could end up handling kickoff returns - - something he did in 2008, averaging 22.2 yards on 39 returns. Of course, that’s only if he’s fully recovered from surgery on both his feet and his right ankle. Moss and running backs D.J. Ware and Andre Brown will be in the mix, too.