Bolts Sign Return Man Mark Jones To One Year Deal

The Chargers helped address an area in which I felt needed improving - the return game. The team signed WR Mark Jones yesterday to a one year deal. He'll come in and provide some much needed competition at punt returner.

“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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June 21, 2008

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Katie said... Jun 21, 2008, 11:52:00 AM

Does this mean Darren will work more with the offense??

Rob Zepeda said... Jun 22, 2008, 10:41:00 AM

Good question Katie. The Chargers also drafted two running backs, so it makes you wonder how much they value Darren Sproles if they are adding competition to his position(s)...

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