There is competition to handle the Ravens punt/kickoff return duties this season, and another candidate has emerged.
Baltimore has signed veteran running back/returner Kenjon Barner, who played with the Atlanta Falcons last season. Barner averaged 23.9 yards per kickoff return and 7.6 yards on 35 punt returns, including a 78-yard punt return touchdown against the Carolina Panthers.
Barner has explosive speed, but ball security was an issue in Atlanta where he muffed four punts. He is expected to compete for the punt return role with rookie wide receiver James Proche, a sixth-round pick who returned punts in college at SMU. Veteran wideout Willie Snead IV is also in the mix.
"It's James' role to win and he's got to go win it," Harbaugh said Friday. "I believe he's up for the challenge, he's the man for the job."
Barner, rookie wide receiver Devin Duvernay, running back Justice Hill and wide receiver Chris Moore could all be in the mix to return kickoffs.
The Ravens already have a deep running back rotation with Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards, rookie J.K. Dobbins and Hill, so Barner is not expected to be competing for a role in the backfield barring injuries. The seven-year NFL veteran had just four carries for 28 yards with Atlanta in 2019.