Allen Park – The Detroit Lions are remaining mum on their return game situation.
The team spent the entire offseason trying to find a permanent solution for both the kickoff and punt return jobs, but no one from the field of contenders emerged as a clear-cut victor for either role during the preseason.
On Saturday, the team released one of the top options for the punt job, waiving Jace Billingsley in favor of Jared Abbrederis for the fifth receiver job. That leaves receiver TJ Jones and cornerback Jamal Agnew as the most likely to field the first punt return when the Lions open against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
On kickoffs, it will likely be Agnew or running back Dwayne Washington, even though both averaged under 20 yards during the preseason.
Whoever it is, the Lions will do everything they can keep the decision under wraps.
“Right now, I mean we still have a couple guys that are available,” coach Jim Caldwell said. “Obviously, you probably have a (depth chart) that comes out here in the next couple of days. A lot of guys have done really well for us. When we get closer to game time, we’ll let you know – give you an idea at least.”
In 2016, Andre Roberts handled both kickoffs and punts for the Lions. He finished third in the NFL in punt returns, averaging 12.3 yards, and eighth on kickoffs, with a 22.3-yard average. He signed with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason.