Santana Moss willing to return punts if asked

The Washington Redskins need a punt returner, and 13th-year wide receiver Santana Moss said Monday that he would be willing to do the job if asked to do so by the team’s coaches.

“I don’t care,” Moss said. “I don’t mind if I’m asked. It’s nothing that I’m putting a sign on saying I’m the punt returner. If Coach lets me do it and they want me to do it, it’s not new to me. I feel like it’s something I still can do. Dealing with the circumstances, if we need me back there, I’ll go.”

Moss has made 112 punt returns in his 12 NFL seasons, averaging 11.3 yards per return. He has three career touchdowns on punt returns, two for the New York Jets in 2002 and one for the Redskins in 2008. He last was credited with a punt return in the 2009 season.

“You always enjoy it,” Moss said. “It’s something that got me here. I shied away from it a lot because I was a starter and when you’re out there more and more, you want to give yourself a chance on the offense and not take away what you can do offensively. Now that I have my share of time off from being a starter, I wouldn’t mind being back there.”

Moss became the Redskins’ third receiver last season and is penciled in for the same role this season.

The Redskins lost their punt returner when reserve cornerback Richard Crawford suffered a season-ending knee injury during Saturday’s preseason triumph over the Buffalo Bills. Coach Mike Shanahan said after the game that the team would consider its options at the spot.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has made 16 career punt returns, including one last season.

Rookie running back Chris Thompson took over for Crawford against the Bills and totaled 48 yards on three punt returns Saturday, including a 31-yarder.

“I felt pretty comfortable doing it,” Thompson said Monday. “I felt even more comfortable when I got in the game. I was real calm. I wasn’t stressing at all. I felt good…. I’m just glad he trusted me enough to let me go back there and try to make some plays for the team.”

The problem for the Redskins is whether they can afford to keep a player on the season-opening roster just to serve as the punt returner. Thompson appears to have fallen behind Roy Helu Jr. and Keiland Williams in the race for roster spots as reserve running backs behind starter Alfred Morris. Thompson said he hopes his punt-return skills make him more valuable to the team.

“I hope so,” Thompson said. “I’m gonna just continue working every single day and whatever decision Coach makes for this upcoming game and for the season, I know they’ll make the right decision.”

The Redskins also listed rookie wide receivers Skye Dawson and Nick Williams on their depth chart at punt returner for the Bills game. Washington concludes the preseason Thursday night at Tampa.

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