The Detroit Lions pursued wide receiver Josh Cribbs last month in hopes of finding a new return man. He took a free-agent visit with Detroit, but he ultimately ended up signing with the Oakland Raiders, forcing the Lions to look elsewhere in their search for a new returner.
On Tuesday, the Lions may have completed their search by signing Micheal Spurlock. His actual position, like Cribbs, is wide receiver, but Spurlock's main contributions are expected to be on special teams as a returner.
Spurlock has played for several teams since entering the NFL in 2006. He began his career with the Arizona Cardinals and spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the following season. Then, after a year where he wasn't on a 53-man roster, Spurlock was briefly with the San Francisco 49ers before having another stint with the Buccaneers. Most recently, in 2012, Spurlock had two stints with the San Diego Chargers and a stop with the Jacksonville Jaguars in between.
As a receiver, Spurlock's numbers aren't very impressive. In his career, he's only caught 46 passes for 494 yards and 3 touchdowns, one of which came against the Lions as a member of the Jaguars last season. In 2012, Spurlock had 121 yards receiving with the Jaguars and 79 yards receiving with the Chargers. His best season, by far, came in 2010 as a member of the Buccaneers. That year, he had 17 catches for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns.
As a returner, Spurlock has been much more impressive. Last season with San Diego, Spurlock averaged 25.7 yards per kick return and 17.1 yards per punt return. (His numbers with the Jaguars -- 19.7 yards per kick return and 8.5 yards per punt return -- weren't quite as good.) He had a kick return touchdown and a punt return touchdown in back-to-back games to close out the season for the Chargers, and he's scored 3 touchdowns on kick returns and 2 touchdowns on punt returns in his career.
The Lions have plenty of players ready to compete to be the starting return man, but given what he's done in the past, I think Spurlock became the immediate favorite to win that job when he signed on Tuesday.