Pete Carroll: Bryan Walters is Seahawks new punt returner


The Seattle Seahawks have scrapped the Earl Thomas experiment and have now enlisted receiver Bryan Walters as the team’s primary punt returner, head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday.

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Thomas was the punt returner for Thursday night’s game against the Green Bay Packers and had two returns go for a total of three yards.

More importantly, he fumbled a return that shouldn’t have been returned in the first place. The turnover gave the Packers great field position and led to a Green Bay touchdown early in the game.

Carroll was not happy  and has made his decision to relieve Thomas of his special teams duties, via

"“I’d like to take that off him,” Carroll said. “He’s going to still be available for us on punt returns and we’ll use him when we need him, but we’ll use Bryan Walters back there and mix our guys as we go.”"

Walters was used in the preseason as a return man and played decently.

In his rookie year with the San Diego Chargers, Walter returned eight punts for 45 yards. He has not returned a punt in a regular season game since.

In his college days at Cornell, however, Walters was one of the most explosive special teams players in the nation.

In four years, he returned 108 punts for 972 yards and touchdown and took 129 kickoffs for 2,790 yards and a touchdown.

His speed and agility should help him excel on punt returns and he has experience, something Thomas lacked.

Thomas is still one of the best safeties in the game and it makes sense to keep him there, although Carroll mentioned the All-Pro will still be “available for us on punt returns.”

Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin are still expected to be the team’s kick returners.

Walters may also be used as a receiver, though not very often. He is one of seven receivers on the Seahawks roster.