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Harry Douglas ready to step in as punt returner if needed

Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver Harry Douglas can step in if needed to return punts.


Atlanta Falcons' wide receiver Harry Douglas initially played for the team as a punt returner as a rookie in 2008. After missing the 2009 season due to a knee injury, he was kept out of punt return duties when Eric Weems took over that spot. This past season it was Dominique Franks returning punts, but Douglas was on punt return detail in the team's final game of the regular season on Sunday.

This season, he has been practicing returning punts as backup to Franks, he is confident that if he is needed to replace Franks in the postseason, that he can jump in right away:

"I practice it every day so it's not like I've not been catching punts every day in practice," Douglas said on Sunday. "I'm here to do whatever (head coach Mike Smith) asks me to do. He's a great coach and I respect him 100 percent. If he calls on me to do it, I will do it."

Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Douglas returned five punts and averaged 10.5 yards per return. Head coach Mike Smith seemed satisfied with those results:

"One thing we focus on is gaining one first down," Douglas said. "If you can do that, that's one less first down the offense has to work for. Me, I want to take them all back, but sometimes you've got to take what the punt team gives you."

The Falcons are waiting to see who they will play in the divisional playoffs and Douglas could be called on to try and make a big return.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.