The Colts have had one returner recently that was a Pro Bowl contender: Brad Pyatt. Sadly, Pyatt’s NFL career was ended with a neck injury, and he is currently with the Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League. Since Pyatt’s injury, mediocre has been the best way to describe the kick return situation. The Colts have cycled through multiple returners: Terrence Wilkins, TJ Rushing, Troy Walters, all were mediocre. Here are the contenders for the job in 2008, and I believe that returning will go from a weakness to a strength. I decided not to separate kickoffs and punts because the Colts have too much talent on the roster currently to have two returners.
TJ Rushing: Rushing is the incumbant, but I would not resign him. Rushing is a consistent returner, but in the return game, I would gladly take someone who returns 3 a year but loses fumbles 3 times a year. Rushing hasn’t had a turnover problem and never loses yards, but he has returned one kick for a touchdown. A few years ago, the offense could take the ball from wherever and score a touchdown. The 2008 offense is not the 2004 offense, and a great returner would be a major boost to the team. TJ Rushing does not give the team that boost. Rushing is gone.
Sam Giguere: Here’s my personal favorite. Giguere is a freak of nature. He’s one of the most gifted athletes in the 2008 draft class, and he can return kicks. The French Canadian football star has the skills to be the returner, but can he capitalize on it? I say yes. Giguere has been impressing the coaches in minicamp at wide receiver, so he has a chance to make the roster as a wide receiver. With Giguere already catching the eyes of the staff, he will have to do well at kick returning. Personally, I think it would be criminal to not keep Giguere on the team. He has the potential to be a star, whether it is at wide receiver or at kick returner.
Other Undrafted Free Agents: I’m grouping Rudy Burgess, Chad Simpson, and Charles Dillon together because they have the same chance to make the roster. Zero. I would prefer for the returner the Colts keep to be able to play a non-special teams position, and none of these guys have the talent to make an NFL roster with their offensive skills. Nice returners but they have no chance to make the roster. Sorry.
So I will make this bold statement: Sam Giguere Will Be the Colts Kick And Punt Returner In 2008.