DeSean Jackson could return punts for Eagles, Chip Kelly says

Mike Ehrmann

Jackson returned just one punt in 2012 as Damaris Johnson took over as the primary punt returner for the team.

Under the direction of new head coach Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson may line up as a punt returner, a role that he excelled in early in his career.

Kelly told Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer on Wednesday that taking advantage of Jackson's skill-set on special teams might be necessary for the team:

"I think there's certain times you want to see DeSean," Kelly said. "I think if there's certain skill-sets and they can help you win a game, like DeSean did, I think you need to see him back there. But it also depends on who your other returner is. Your other returner may be really dynamic, and you don't need him."

Jackson, 26, served as the primary punt returner for the Eagles in the first few years of his career and was among the best in the NFL. In 2009, Jackson boasted the NFL's best punt return average of 15.2 per return with an NFL-best two touchdowns.

His average dropped to 11.6 yards in 2010, although he was named the NFC Pro Bowl punt returner, and is best remembered in that season for a game-winning return to defeat the New York Giants. However, in 2011 his average dropped all the way to 6.7 yards and he was replaced. In 2012, he returned just one punt while Damaris Johnson took over the duties and finished with an average of 11.2 yards per punt return.

The season was also a struggle for Jackson at wide receiver as he missed the final five games of the year with broken ribs and had his worst season statistically, finishing with 45 receptions for 700 yards with two touchdowns. It was that kind of year for the Eagles.

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