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Buchanon Expected to Serve As Punt Returner


Punt returns are in Phillip Buchanon's future.

Buchanon's full-time position is cornerback, but he said on Thursday he is eager to return punts for the Redskins next season. It's something that he has not done regularly since 2007.

"Oh yeah, [coaches] have talked to me about returning punts," Buchanon said. "I am definitely looking forward to that so I can get back to my punt return days...and get some touchdowns. I need some."

Buchanon, an 8-year vet, was a kick return standout early in his career with the Oakland Raiders.

In his rookie year, he had an 83-yard punt return for a touchdown. The following year, he had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Overall, Buchanon has returned 118 career punts for a 9.1-yard average and three touchdowns.

He has also returned nine career kickoffs for a 16.2-yard average.

It's hoped that Buchanon can upgrade the Redskins' punt return unit, which has struggled in recent years.

Antwaan Randle El averaged 6.0 yards on punt returns last year, one of the lowest averages in the league. Randle El was released by the Redskins on March 4.

For Buchanon, whether it's on defense or special teams he has proven he can be a dynamic playmaker when he gets his hands on the ball.

"I'm going to come in and do my best," Buchanon said. "There are no guarantees in anything but I know I am going to come in and do my best. I'm going to work hard, like I have always have been working."

Buchanon entered the league as a first-round draft pick (17th overall) of the Raiders in 2002. He has also had NFL stints with the Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions.

On defense, Buchanon has posted 339 career tackles and 18 interceptions, five of which he returned for touchdowns. He also has one career sack and six forced fumbles.

His best season was 2003, his sophomore campaign, in which he started 10-of-16 games and had 42 tackles and a career-high six interceptions.

He jumps into the mix at cornerback on the Redskins. DeAngelo Hall and Carlos Rogers are the incumbent starters at the position while Justin Tryon, Kevin Barnes and Byron Westbrook provide youth at the position.

"I want to come in here and do what I love doing, play hard and play around a group of guys that play real well," he said.

Buchanon said it didn't matter to him if Redskins employ a 3-4 or 4-3 next season.

The Redskins have used a 4-3 alignment for years.

Asked for his impressions of new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, Buchanon replied: "He's very laid back. He's very detailed in his approach. He loves to go through walk-throughs. I like to see a coach who actually goes through walk-throughs so the players can learn and be more prepared instead of just throwing plays out there so guys can just go out there and play.

"He's very detailed and he takes his time. He's more one on one, so I like that about him."

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