Detroit Lions returner: I would have fired myself if the punter stopped me… again

Detroit Free Press

Carlos Monarrez
| Detroit Free Press

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Jamal Agnew wasn’t going to let it happen for the third straight game.

The Detroit Lions‘ return man wasn’t going to get stopped by a kicker.

Because if he did, he wouldn’t have been able to forgive himself.

“Oh, two weeks in a row I got tackled by the kicker,” Agnew said with a smile Saturday, “so I couldn’t let it happen a third time in a row. I would have fired myself, to be honest.”

With 9:38 left in the third quarter of the Lions’ 47-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, Bradley Pinion punted 49 yards to the Detroit 26 near the sideline, where Agnew fielded the punt. Agnew cut to his right and broke an arm tackle. When Pinion was the last defender in his way, Agnew had a full head of steam and juked to his left, then blazed past for a 74-yard touchdown.

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“I mean, it’s just been frustrating all year not getting the opportunities,” Agnew said. “For some reason the last month or so, we’ve been getting more and more opportunities. I keep telling my teammates, ‘You know, let’s block, let’s block it up.’ They work their butts off because you never know when we’re going to get the opportunity and it came.

“I mean, unfortunately, we were down 40 to nothing (before the touchdown). But we’re still trying to make an impact, make plays on special teams. I’m just happy I got to make that play for the team and give us a little bit of juice.”

Two weeks ago against the Green Bay Packers, Agnew had a 71-yard kickoff return that was kept out the end zone by kicker Mason Crosby’s tackle. Then-special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs had fun threatening to levy a team fine on Agnew for getting stopped by the kicker.

Then last week at Tennessee, Agnew ran into kicker Stephen Gostkowski in the middle of the field on a 43-yard return that might have gone for a touchdown.

When Agnew finally took a return to the house Saturday it proved too little, too late. But it at least proved the Lions had not quit.

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“Oh, no doubt, the effort is definitely there,” he said. “I just don’t think the execution was there, to be honest. We didn’t make the plays in the certain situations that we needed to. Obviously, that first drive, we had that big offsides kill a little bit of momentum. It’s just those type of plays that we have to lock in and execute. We can’t blame it on scheme or anything.”

Contact Carlos Monarrez at and follow him on Twitter @cmonarrez.

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