Dax Milne will return punts for the Commanders, could also return kicks

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The Washington Commanders kept six wide receivers on the initial 53-man roster. Throughout training camp, it was apparent that the final receiver to make the team would significantly impact special teams.

Second-year wideout Dax Milne earned Washington’s final wide receiver spot after a strong camp and preseason. Now, Milne will also return punts in 2022.

“Keeping Dax, and I’ll say he’s one of the six, he had a very good camp,” head coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday. “He played very well in every game. He will return punts. We are going to take a look at it as he continues to work on some of the kickoff stuff as well.”

Last season, Washington signed veteran DeAndre Carter to return punts and kicks. Due to injuries, Carter played a significant role on offense at times. However, the Commanders let Carter walk in the offseason. Carter averaged over 25 yards per kick return and 8.4 yards per punt return in 2021.

Milne doesn’t have a great deal of experience returning punts. As a sophomore at BYU in 2019, Milne returned five punts, averaging over 11 yards per return. He returned seven punts in 2020.

Washington likes Milne as a receiver. He runs terrific routes, catches everything and has good speed. If he can also return punts, he checks that positional flexibility box Rivera loves.

Last week, it sounded like the Commanders had decided on starting running back Antonio Gibson as the top kickoff returner. Rivera softened on that stance a bit on Tuesday, again bringing up Milne.

“Antonio is still in consideration to go back there,” Rivera said. “We will look at Dax and a couple of other guys as far as that position is concerned.”

Just reading into things, it sounds like Gibson may be needed more in the backfield with Brian Robinson’s potential absence. While there is optimism surrounding Robinson’s return, it is still unknown as he did suffer two gunshot wounds only days ago.

If everyone stays healthy in 2022, Milne may not see a lot of offensive snaps, but he will still have a critical role for the Commanders.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire