Jets kick returner Andre Roberts finds his niche

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Jets kick returner Andre Roberts finds his niche

In the earlier part of his career, New York Jets wide receiver Andre Roberts was a serviceable pass-catcher for the Arizona Cardinals and Washington Redskins. His best season was 2012 when he hauled in 64 passes for 759 yards and 5 touchdowns with the Cardinals.

In spite of losing status at the WR position, it turns out Roberts career was far from over. Throughout his career, he has always been a proficient kick and punt returner. During the 2014 season with the Redskins, he returned 58 kicks (kickoff and punt returns) for a strong 918 years. In turns out, that was just a preview of things to come. Sports gamblers (see Sugarhouse promo code) love guys who help set the table for offenses. In 2015, he returned a kickoff 99 yards for the first kick return touchdown of his career. After a serious knee injury late in 2015, Roberts was released by the Redskins and has never again been given much of a chance to line up at his natural position.

In June of 2016, the Detroit Lions signed Roberts to a one-year deal to serve as the team's primary kick returner. While he did catch 14 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown as the 4th string WR, he again showed his value as a kick-returner. On the season, he returned 53 kicks for 993 yards with two punt returns for touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was for 86 yards, making it the NFL's longest punt return for touchdown in 2016.

In March of 2017, Roberts signed as a free agent to another one-year deal with the Detroit Lions. Again, he was appointed the team's primary kick returner, only catching one pass on the season. At age 29, he was showing signs of getting better with age at a time when most offensive specialist start slowing down. He actually sped up to the tune of 65 returns for 1,061 yards but no TDs.

After the Lions passed on signing him to another one-year deal, Roberts was picked up by the New York Jets. In an era when kick-returners don't get much of a chance to use their legs, Roberts has been nothing short of brilliant. Through the first 13 games, he has already compiled 50 kick returns for 1,131 yards and a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown. Even more impressive is the fact he has returned six kicks for more than 40 yards. That's four more than the next player. In the week 14 game against the Buffalo Bills, he was an unsung hero. On the day, he returned two kickoffs for over 40 yards with the second on going for 86 yards to the Bills’ 8-yard line. The Jets would score on both subsequent drives to put the team in position to win the game 27-23 on a winning touchdown run by Elijah McGuire with 1:17 remaining in the game.

At 4-9, the Jets have struggled on the season. By all appearances, it looks as though Roberts might be the only Jets player to get a Pro Bowl invite. Maybe that will be enough to earn him another contract with the Jets for next season.

Tags: andre roberts


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