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Travis Benjamin runs back a punt for a score versus St. Louis in Week 1 of the preseason.
One thing has been proven without a shadow of a doubt this preseason: Travis Benjamin will be returning punts for the Cleveland Browns in 2013.
The second-year speedster had an 80-plus-yard run back for a score negated by a penalty in this Thursday's Detroit matchup. If it stood, Benjamin would have had consecutive games where he took a punt to the house.
His spectacular, untouched 91-yard sprint in Week 1's St. Louis exhibition was a thing of beauty.
After the Lions had that return scare washed out by the officials, they wisely tried to make their following punts more difficult for the Florida native. On three other opportunities Benjamin averaged 4 yards, but was able to bust loose for a long of 13.
The kickoff returner role is a bit more wide open.
Johnson Bademosi and Dion Lewis are the front-runners, with Jordan Norwood as a viable possibility as well once he comes back from injury.
Bademosi and Lewis have been neck-and-neck as far as preseason success has gone.
In the past two weeks both have had a single opportunity at a kickoff. Bademosi ran for 21 and 29 yards in Games 1 and 2 respectively, while Lewis scampered for 31 and 26.
Each offer different skill sets as a return man. Bademosi is a plow-them-down power runner, whereas Lewis brings finesse and quickness. The likely solution is that both will split time.
That was before Lewis suffered a fractured fibula early in the second half of Thursday's 24-6 romp over Detroit.
Now someone like Naaman Roosevelt out of Buffalo, who initially seemed like training-camp fodder, gets a real look. He appeared solid during a 29-yard hustle on a kickoff versus the Rams.
He will no doubt be reassessed for usefulness on special teams now that Lewis is out.