Giovani Bernard Says Baseball Experience Is Key

July 29th, 2022

Veteran Bucs running back Giovani Bernard.

Yesterday, Joe asked Bucs general manager Jason Licht about the battle at kick and punt returner.

The GM mentioned two names specifically, receiver/returner Jaelon Darden and veteran running back Giovani Bernard. Yeah, there are other guys on the roster who have potential as returners, but Licht went to Bernard and referenced the trust they have in him.

Interestingly, Bernard’s two punt returns for the Bucs last season were the first two of his career, though he was a full-time returner 10 years ago for one season at the University of North Carolina.

Joe talked to Bernard after practice today about his return game. Few NFL players pick up that role at 30 years old, but Bernard said he’s ready for anything and it comes easily to him.

“I played baseball when I was younger, so I think tracking the ball is a little bit easier for me,” Bernard said.

He was humble about his college success, but Bucs fans should know Bernard brought back two punt returns for touchdowns and averaged a whopping 16.4 yards per return on 16 attempts.

With all the Bucs’ receiving depth, it’s hard for Joe to imagine Darden sticking on the roster. Mr. Bernard very well could be the No. 1 returner on opening day.

12 Responses to “Giovani Bernard Says Baseball Experience Is Key”

  1. NeverGIVEup Says:

    Dam GIO is still on the team? I really like his burst BUT

    I doubt he is more coveted (no not COVIDED) at his age than a young promising draft pick.

    Next year the bottom half the receiving core will look different for sure. So, guys like Darden/Johnson will be given every chance to make the team more so than aging guys 4th or lower on a loaded RB depth chart.

    Just saying, I will take Darden who has the opportunity to do more over GIO for the exclusive role or returner 10 out of 10 times. Gio will never do anything other than return kicks IF THAT.

    Shock Gio is still on the team. Although it is a good thing. I am thinking TRADE BAIT. He is good enough of a runner that some team will want him to split time at RB

  2. SB~LV Says:

    Let’s not forget
    Mr 5’7” as a/ returner

  3. Beeej Says:

    I can’t believe scooter wouldn’t be good at it

  4. GOB Says:

    I agree boys, why isn’t Miller in the role? Maybe they fear he wouldn’t hold up to the pounding. What are they saving him for? He’s at best the 4th or 5th option in the passing game. He has tremendous straight line speed, and is shifty enough to make the first guy miss sometimes. If it’s blocked up probably, Miller should be a home run threat on every return. I think they’re trying to justify Gio’s roster spot. While you’re at it, put Miller back on kickoffs too.

  5. GOB Says:


  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    Dardung. LMAO.

  7. Goatfarmer Says:

    GOB – Miller certainly has proven he can track the ball. And if anything his twitchiness is better through his off-season programs. With Dardung obviously being a backup CFL player at best, why not give Miller a look. Especially after grabbing Julio.

  8. #8 Says:

    Still lamenting not signing Patterson-
    Scottie could carve a niche of returner, special teams D, and #5/6/7th wr.
    I’d be ok with that.

  9. Goatfarmer Says:

    Suh. But not as a return man.

  10. Crickett Baker Says:

    I keep thinking about Miller, too, and why they don’t use him on returns. As shifty and as fast as he is, with darn sure hands, I would think he’d be a shoo-in. But, noooo, he’s never even mentioned. It is very odd, to me. I hope they aren’t planning on letting him go.

  11. mark2001 Says:

    Suh has made Rodgers wish he could return to mama a few times. But Suh will never be a punt or kickoff return man.

  12. Mikejp Says:

    Tracking the punt is completely different from tracking a QB’ s throw. Not every receiver can catch a punt. You can google to see the reasons why Belichick usually selects a left footed punter.