- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Since Jeremy Ross has arrived in Detroit, a castoff from Green Bay who was first signed to the practice squad and then promoted to the regular roster, he has insisted there were no ill feelings toward the Green Bay Packers.
He had friends on the team, in the wide receiver room he once inhabited. He understood why he was let go, a combination of production and injuries and pure numbers that left him the odd player out.
So Thanksgiving, where he would see old friends and former teammates, would not provide any extra emotion or motivation for him. At least that's what he said.
The way he played said something completely different.
"It sucked to be cut," Ross said. "But I was just more upset that I was leaving relationships there. It was unfortunate.
"First thing I looked at was myself, see which ways I could prevent it, but, you know, try to bounce back."
Against his former team, he had no issues doing that. He put together his most productive day as a Lion on Thursday, contributing on offense, on special teams and solidifying a future role with the team for at least the rest of the season.
Ross played three offensive snaps. He got the ball on two of them, running a 24-yard reverse in the second quarter that was essentially all him. He made a Green Bay player miss in the backfield and then cut upfield for a big gain.
Then he caught a 5-yard touchdown on a slant route later in the second quarter to tie the game at 10-10 for his first career touchdown reception.
"It's like, man, given the circumstances, it did feel good," Ross said. "Like man, this is cool, you know. I got some boys I know over there. It just felt good to play against some people you know and score against them.
"It was good, man. Just scoring a touchdown, period, was big. It could have been against the Jaguars, Tampa, whoever, it doesn't matter. It just felt good to score a touchdown."
His role on the offense, though, didn't change much from a week ago other than he saw the ball on his limited snaps.
Where he was going to make his impact with Detroit, especially with the return of Nate Burleson to the lineup, was on special teams as a returner. He has replaced Micheal Spurlock there the past two games and has done what he could to make sure he doesn't lose the job.
He had 70 yards on kick returns and 46 yards on punt returns. The punt-return yardage could have been even more, but a 60-yard punt return in the fourth quarter was nullified by a penalty on Jonte Green.
But the way Ross handled the return duties -- by making smart decisions, showing good instincts to find holes and having speed to break away from defenders -- gave the Lions something they have been missing there the majority of the season.
"I felt good out there," Ross said. "I was motivated [Thursday] just to get out there and make big plays for my team. I thought it was about that time, to step out there and just get in there.
"My team did a great job blocking for me."
And he did enough on his own returning to probably hold on to that job from now on.