Dwayne Harris ignites Giants with touchdown returns
By: Dan Salomone, Giants.com
Dwayne Harris has done something this season no Giant had done in six decades.
The ex-Cowboy, who signed with Big Blue as a free agent this offseason, scored on an 80-yard punt return last week against the Jets. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown vs. Dallas in Week 7, making him just the third player in Giants history with kickoff and punt return touchdowns in the same season and the first to do so since Jimmy Patton in 1955. Pro Football Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell also accomplished the feat in 1951.
“It’s not about me,” Harris said today after practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. “It’s the guys up front who open up lanes for me. I’m just the guy running with the ball and making a couple people miss and that’s what I do. But it starts with the guys up front. When they believe in me, it helps this whole team [achieve] a special teams goal.”
While it had been exactly six years since the Giants’ last punt return touchdown by Domenik Hixon on Dec. 6, 2009, it was Harris’ fourth return touchdown of his career.
“You never know when you’re going to get the chance to return a kick,” said Harris, who also has four receiving touchdowns after having just three in his first four NFL seasons. “So you make every one count when you get the opportunity.”
Field position will be up for grabs this week on “Monday Night Football” in Miami. Both the Giants and Dolphins rank in the top 10 in punt return average and are two of the 11 teams who have scored on a punt return in 2015.
Miami’s second-year wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who is ALSO on pace for 100 catches and 1,000 yards, scored on a 69-yard punt return in the season opener against Washington. He averages 9.3 yards per return and has three of 20 yards or longer.
“There are a lot of plusses on both sides, obviously,” coach Tom Coughlin said.
“We need to see what we saw the other day from our team and we need to continue to have field position based on our special teams. It was good to see that.”