Raiders' Jackson says Ford best KR in football

Raiders' Jackson says Ford best KR in football
September 1, 2011, 10:34 pm
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Sept. 1, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVE
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Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comALAMEDA -- Five different Raiders players have combined to return 13 kickoffs in three preseason games, from Shaun Bodiford (4) to Nick Miller (4) to Denarius Moore (3) to Chad Jackson (1) to Taiwan Jones (1).So, who's Oakland's top returner as the Raiders head into their exhibition finale Friday night at Seattle and prepare for their season opener Sept. 12 in Denver?"I got one guy in my mind and he's the best in football," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said this week. "His name is Jacoby Ford."Agree or disagree, Ford has also been conspicuous by his absence. He has been sidelined since July 30 with a broken left hand, suffered on the first day of padded hitting in training camp.Jackson's praise had to feel good to Ford, considering he has yet to play in an exhibition this summer, though he did dress and take part in pregame warmups Sunday at the O.co Coliseum."He's giving me the kudos; I'll accept it," Ford said. "That's just the kind of confidence he has in me. I've got his back and he's got mine. We just kind of complement each other that way."Compliments are also free-flowing and easy to find after Ford's electrifying rookie season in 2010, in which he set single-season and franchise records with three touchdown returns on kickoffs. On the year, he returned 53 kickoffs for 1,280 yards, averaging 24.2 yards. He ranked sixth in the NFL in kick return yardage.And coming out of the NFL lockout, there had been much talk of Ford taking over punt-return duties as well. Talk that has been squelched of late, what with Ford slowed by injury. Still, he was fielding punts in the last week of camp."Just to show them I can go out there and do it," Ford said. "I'd like to be able to do it sometime."I wouldn't want to do it every time," though, he added. "Just kind of situational, just every once in a while. Nothing too much. I wouldn't want to wear myself out."Said Jackson: "He has the potential to be (our punt returner). Will we stick him back there? I don't know. We'll see. Maybe that will be our spot-duty deal as we go. But he has the potential to do it."Jackson had also not decided yet whether Ford would play against the Seahawks, or just hit the regular season ground running. Literally, and figuratively.Thus far, Bodiford is averaging 25.8 yards per kick return, Miller 16.0 yards and Moore 28.7 yards.