Lorenzo Booker helps résumé with huge kick return
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org August 22, 2012 8:42PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:52AM
Lorenzo Booker knows he’s battling long odds to make the Bears’ roster. But if he can just make it close, he has a pretty good tiebreaker.
Booker’s 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Bears’ preseason victory over the Washington Redskins on Saturday at least served notice that the battle for the No. 3 running back spot is not just between Kahlil Bell and Armando Allen.
The 5-10, 200-pound Booker has played primarily special teams in four NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2007), Philadelphia Eagles (2008) and Minnesota Vikings (2009-10). He signed with the Bears a week before training camp began.
‘‘It doesn’t matter to me that the greatest returner of all time [Devin Hester] and another Pro Bowler [Eric Weems] is here. I want to be here,’’ Booker said. ‘‘It’s a great team. They have one of the better special-teams units, especially on returns. I want to contribute.’’
Booker has a knack for making an instant impact. When he signed with the Vikings late in the 2010 season, he returned his second career kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants, but it was nullified by a penalty. His touchdown against the Redskins came on his second kickoff return with the Bears.
‘‘He really did that on his own,’’ Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. ‘‘We had a guy come down unblocked, and he had to avoid him and he ended up outside the blocking and he had to beat three guys. It was a heck of a return.’’
For Booker, it’s a great one to have on tape.
‘‘I guess one of the good things about it is it showed a lot of my own personal ability,’’ he said. ‘‘Running through a crease is obviously something that you’re not going to argue with.’’
On the other hand . . .
The Bears also allowed a return touchdown when Brandon Banks took a punt back 91 yards. But Toub was not overly concerned.
‘‘It’s a preseason thing. We had the twos in there,’’ he said. ‘‘The kick [by Adam Podlesh] was good. [But] about five guys made mistakes on that play. When you have that many breakdowns, you’re going to get a touchdown run on you.’’
With Podlesh out with a hip injury, rookie Ryan Quigley will punt against the Giants on Friday in the Meadowlands.
‘‘This is going to be a good test for him,’’ Toub said. ‘‘He gets to play with the ones. He hasn’t done that all offseason. He’s going to get a good shot this week. We’ll see if he can handle it.’’
The Bears’ early juggling of their linebackers against the Redskins looms bigger with the possibility that Brian Urlacher could miss part of the regular season. Nick Roach seemed to struggle and was replaced by Blake Costanzo.
‘‘We’ll take a look at everybody right now,’’ defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said.