A.J. Green might or might not return punts for Georgia this year. But if he doesn’t, it won’t be because of the risk of injury.
“People talk about, ‘Well, gosh, what if he got hurt?’” coach Mark Richt said Thursday. “Well, he can get hurt running down the sideline and getting hit while he’s trying to catch the ball. So I don’t know if there’s any more risk factor [returning punts] than any other play.”
The deciding factor, then, on whether Georgia’s star receiver doubles as a punt returner will be: Is he the best player for the role?
Richt isn’t sure.
“I wouldn’t be against him doing anything for us that would help us win,” Richt said. “But the bottom line is, is he the best at that skill? If he is, then we’ll let him play. Or if there are certain times we feel like it’s important to get him in there and do that, we might do that, too.”
Green returned punts at Summerville (S.C.) High School -– he returned 12 for touchdowns –- and he told Richt during spring practice that he’d like to reprise the role this year for the Bulldogs.
He was among seven players who took turns returning punts in spring ball, joining Branden Smith, Brandon Boykin, Washaun Ealey, Bacarri Rambo, Carlton Thomas and Rantavious Wooten. The job is open because of the graduation of Prince Miller, who had 19 of the Dogs’ 23 punt returns last season.