“Mark’s versatility was very attractive to us,” said General Manager A.J. Smith. “He’s an experienced NFL punt returner and a solid player who will raise the level of competition in our camp.”
I'll admit I have been somewhat critical of Darren Sproles in the past. I felt the Chargers needed get better field position on returns, and I questioned Sproles ability to get better. While its clear Darren is only a situational guy on offense, there is still an opportunity for him to shine on special teams. Hopefully the addition of Mark Jones can light a fire under Sproles and may the best man win the job.
Some background on Mark Jones, courtesy the San Diego Chargers:
Originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the seventh round in 2004, the 5-9, 185-pound Jones ended up spending his rookie season with the New York Giants after being waived by the Buccaneers. He re-signed with Tampa Bay in 2005 and spent the 2005-07 seasons in Tampa Bay.
Jones is a wide receiver, but his NFL experience has been exclusively as a punt returner. In 2007, he returned 12 punts for 143 yards (11.9 avg) with a long of 35. His year was cut short however by a knee injury that landed him on Injured-Reserve on Oct. 24. He has since recovered from that injury.
For his career, Jones has 117 returns for 1,017 yards, an average of 8.7 yards per return.
The 27-year-old Jones was born in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. He attended Strath Haven High School and the University of Tennessee.
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