Michael Spurlock came to the Jaguars on October seventh to revamp kick returning duties since Mike Thomas simply wasn’t getting it done. In the four game Spurlock has played with the Jaguars he has caught 12 balls for 103 yards and a touchdown. To give you an idea, Mike Thomas (the man he essentially replaced) had 13 receptions for 80 yards before being traded to the Lions.
I have been intrigued by Spurlock’s play lately. After he was signed he very quickly started seeing time at wide receiver more than Kevin Elliott. He’s had a catch of over 20 yards and is fifth on the team in yards per game. As we all know, these aren’t big accomplishments for players in more prolific offenses, but for the Jaguars to have a player who is influential early on in his time with the team is big.
So, who is this Michael Spurlock fellow?
Turns out he’s had quite the history. After going undrafted in 2006, Spurlock came into the league signing on with the Arizona Cardinals. He spent the majority of the season on the practice squad but ended up with four receptions (all in one game) for 31 yards and three returns for 54 yards before moving onto Tampa Bay the next year. It was in Tampa Bay that Spurlock became a return threat. While only returning 16 kickoffs that season, he returned one for 90 yards and the franchise’s first kickoff touchdown return. Spurlock then signed with the San Francisco 49ers, was cut when Michael Crabtree ended his holdout, and ended up back with the Bucs. In 2010 he returned another kickoff (a squib kick against the Falcons) for a touchdown. His first game back with Tampa Bay he had a punt return for a touchdown as well. That year (2010), Spurlock had 17 receptions for 250 yards (14.7 yards per reception) and two touchdowns. This is the only hint in his career that he could be an effective receiver if given the opportunity.
When Spurlock came to the Jaguars in October, he was fresh off being cut by the Chargers. With the Chargers he had all of one punt return. With the Jaguars he has begun to emerge as something more than his previous career would suggest. Given the opportunity, Spurlock has shown that his five years in the NFL has made him a much more polished player than would be suggested by his time spent on practice squads and on the sidelines.
He may not be Calvin Johnson, but as the Jaguars are focusing on finding pieces to move forward with, Spurlock is certainly making a case for himself as both a special teamer and a receiver.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims