Travis Benjamin will return kickoffs and punts

BEREA, Ohio – Browns coaches have given Travis Benjamin a couple days off during training camps as he returns from a serious knee injury.

But the special-teams standout known as The Rabbit will draw double duty on game days.

Special teams coach Chris Tabor said Benjamin will return punts and kickoffs, a multi task he was performing at midseason a year ago when he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

"He's obviously an explosive weapon," Tabor said. "We're in the business of winning games and he gives you the opportunity for a big play. You can't play this game scared and you can't coach this game scared."

Benjamin averaged 11.7 yards per punt return a season ago and set a franchise record with 179 yards on Oct. 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He was just starting to return kickoffs – three for a 48.7 yard average – at the time of his injury Oct. 27 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tabor doesn't seem concerned about overextending Benjamin, who also will get some reps at receiver.

"(Against) Kansas City he went to spin another time (on a punt return) and it (was) a non-contact injury," Tabor said.   "That can happen at any time. He's healthy, he's running well, he's catching the ball well and to me he appears very fast."

First-round pick Justin Gilbert expressed interest in returning kicks, but coach Mike Pettine wants him focused on cornerback. He'll be used only on an "emergency" basis.

 Benjamin is anxious to test the surgically-repaired knee in a game. It's unclear if the coaches will use him Saturday against Detroit.

"It's going to be great," Benjamin said. "Knowing that I've been out of football for seven, eight months now. Just to get back in the swing of things, there's going to be butterflies for that first hit, just to get the jitterbugs out of the way."

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus