Friday, September 27, 2013
Ace Sanders gets chance to return punts
By Michael DiRocco
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Ace Sanders to be the team’s punt returner. Now he’s finally getting a chance to do so.
Coach Gus Bradley confirmed on Friday that Sanders will return punts in Sunday’s game against Indianapolis. Bradley had held him from that role through the first three games because he didn’t want to over-burden the 5-foot-7, 178-pounder from South Carolina.
But Bradley decided to give him a shot this week.
"I’m pretty excited," Sanders said. "Another opportunity to get the ball in my hands [and] try to make a big play for the team."
Sanders averaged 15.3 yards per punt return in South Carolina in 2012, set a single-season school record with 429 punt return yards, and was named the SEC’s co-Special Teams Player of the Year. He averaged 11.2 yards per return in his career (53 for 594) and returned three for touchdowns.
The Jaguars haven’t had a punt returned for a touchdown since Rashean Mathis took one back 72 yards against Pittsburgh on Oct. 5, 2008. They drafted Sanders to be more explosive in the return game, which is why not getting a chance to do it the first three weeks was a bit frustrating, Sanders said.
"That was the hype coming in and stuff so, yeah [he was somewhat frustrated], because I enjoy doing it," Sanders said. "I was doing it the whole time [in the preseason] and then we got to the games and then [Bradley said]: 'I have to sit you down for a couple weeks.'
"I understood why. I was like, ‘All right, that’s fine. I’ll just wait and my time will come.’"
That will be Sunday.