Aug 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson (10) warms up before the preseason game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Richardson not expected to return punts this season

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The departure of Golden Tate this offseason meant the departure of Seattle’s main punt return man and the vacancy currently has more than a few excited applicants.

But at least one of those expected applicants was declined the invitation to be interviewed further.

Seahawks rookie Paul Richardson is not expected to return punts this offseason, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times.

Condotta reported on Monday that Pete Carroll said he wants Richardson to focus on returning kickoffs, not punts:

One player you can rule out of the punt return job is Paul Richardson as Carroll said he is only being considered as a kickoff returner at the moment.

“We’re thinking of him more as a kickoff returner, he’s working there,” Carroll said. “He’s in the mix. He could play in the game at kick returner right now.”

Richardson was considered early in OTAs as a possible punt returner, but now it’s up in the air as to who that responsibility will ultimately fall to.

All-universe safety Earl Thomas has returned a few punts this offseason as has receiver Bryan Walters.

The big question regarding Thomas is not his ability to return punts, it’s how dangerous the job could end up becoming.

Seattle can’t afford to have a member of their Legion of Boom sidelined with an injury following a special teams return.

Just don’t tell the Seahawks coaching staff that.

“I’m not worried about Earl back there,” Carroll said in Condotta’s article.

Another possible candidate is receiver Doug Baldwin who gained some experience at the position in his college days at Stanford, though he has never returned a punt in the NFL.

Baldwin had 30 returns for 211 yards in his four collegiate years.

As the regular season nears quicker than ever, it may not be until Week 1 that Seattle decides on a main return man. Or, they may just rotate through a few players.

Whatever they decide to do, Paul Richardson won’t play any part in it.

Although, I’m more excited to see him return kickoffs anyway.

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