The New York Giants signed return specialist Dwayne Harris as a free agent this offseason. That does not, however, mean that we won't see Odell Beckham Jr. returning punts i 2015. Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn declined on Saturday to rule out that possibility.
"That is not my decision. I think he wants to do it. Whatever helps the team. If he is needed, then he is needed," Quinn said after Saturday's rookie mini-camp workout.
Beckham, of course, had a record-setting rookie season, making the Pro Bowl and being named AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was the Giants' primary punt returner over the second half of the season and did well there, averaging 8.1 yards on 21 returns.
The presence of Harris, who averaged 11.1 yards on 87 punt returns over four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, would seem to make risking Beckham on special teams unnecessary.
Speaking of Harris, Quinn is glad to have the ex-Cowboy on his side after competing against him the past four seasons.
"It is good that it is someone we know so well. [He] is someone who we played twice a year against all his time in Dallas. I respected him coming out of college and how he plays and how physical he plays," Quinn said. "He will add a good dimension. He is a returner that is also a gunner, so anytime you can get a guy that can do multiple jobs is a nice addition."
When the Giants signed Harris to an eyebrow-raising five-year, $17.5 million contract ($7.1 million guaranteed) general manager Jerry said part of the reason was "we thought the guy was kind of a four to five tool type player for us. We thought we were getting a lot of players out of one position."
In addition to his aforementioned work returning punts, Harris averaged 26.5 yards returning kickoffs for Dallas the past four seasons.
"He is decisive. There isn't a lot of wasted movement. He is physical. He has a good understanding of the return schemes and what is needed for each one. There is no hesitation. If he is catching the ball and you are running it to the right, he is going to get it to the right, which sets up all the blockers for him. They know where he is going to be," Quinn said. "A lot of times when you are blocking, [the returner] is supposed to be over here, but the returner is running the wrong direction or in the middle and now your block is not set up for that. He is very decisive. He is a strong runner."