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Solomon Patton aiming for return job

8/20/2014

TAMPA, Fla. -- If Solomon Patton ends up as the return man for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team might want to thank Urban Meyer.

Back when Meyer was the coach at the University of Florida, he delivered an important message when he was recruiting Patton.

"He was big on special teams," Patton said. "He was the one that told me about the importance of special teams. During the recruiting process they told me, 'You’re going to have to play special teams. A lot of people think they just come in and play their position. You start out playing special teams and you get your chance if you’re able to play that position that you want to play.'"

Patton eventually got his chance to play wide receiver, but he spent his first two college seasons working mostly on special teams. If Patton is going to earn a roster spot with the Bucs, he’s going to have to start off on special teams.

So far, it looks like Patton has a shot at sticking on the roster. He handled returns in last week’s preseason game with Miami. When the depth chart came out for this week’s game against Buffalo, Patton was listed as the first-team returner for punts and kickoffs.

"We’ve been taking a look at a lot of different guys, and the ones that made something happen get another look," coach Lovie Smith said. "It’s kind of simple as that with him. We plan on giving him a couple of looks this week on both returns -- kickoff and of course punts, too."