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Bonehead play gets Stefan Logan benched as Lions’ return man

Stefan Logan

Detroit Lions wide receiver Stefan Logan (11) runs during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field in Detroit, Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)


When Lions return man Stefan Logan fielded a kick at the 4-yard line on Saturday against the Falcons, he did something extraordinarily stupid: He took a knee and downed it. At the 4-yard line.

TV cameras caught Lions coach Jim Schwartz calling that, “the f--king stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” Now Logan has been benched.

I won’t be [returning kicks] this Sunday,” Logan confirmed today. “I’m mad, but at the same time there’s nothing I can do about that. That’s coach’s decision. I blame myself. I’m not blaming the coaches, I blame myself. I’m my worst critic.”

Logan didn’t have much of an explanation for why he downed the ball.

“It was a messed up play by me and I have to live with it and move on from it. It’s just a bad play by me and I have to pay the consequences and I have to live with it. I just have to work through it and just be ready for whenever your opportunity comes back up,” Logan said.

Schwartz said that if Logan can’t be trusted not to down the ball at the 4-yard line, then he can’t be trusted to return kicks.

“Part of a returner’s job is to know where he is on the field. Saying ‘I didn’t know where I was, I thought I was in the end zone,’ is not a valid excuse. Your job as a returner is to know where you are on the field, particularly after we had gotten a safety,” Schwartz said.

Frankly, Schwartz’s decision to bench Logan is long overdue, regardless of his bonehead play last week. Logan is dead last in the NFL with a 21.3-yard kickoff return average and 16th with a 9.1-yard punt return average, and he has six fumbles this season.

Still, Logan is confident in himself going forward.

“Things happen. I didn’t lose the game,” Logan said. “The game was already over. So it’s not like I lost the game for us, but you can look at it however you want to look at it. We’ve all struggled as a team so far. Not just one individual. I’m like the quarterback on special teams. When the camera goes on special teams it comes straight to me so if anything happens on special teams as far as muffing a punt or a guy running into me or something like that it’s going to be my fault because the light is on me.”

The reality is that Logan is wrong when he says the game was over. It wasn’t over. The Lions were losing by 13 points with 1:21 remaining at the time of Logan’s blunder, so they certainly weren’t in good shape, but teams have come back from being down 13 with 1:21 remaining and gone on to win. In fact, just this season the Lions came back to force overtime after trailing the Titans by more than 13 with less than 1:21 remaining. In that game, Logan fielded a kick with the Lions down by 14 with 1:16 remaining. Fortunately for the Lions, when Logan downed that kick he really was in the end zone. (Apparently Logan thought at the time that the game was over, but his teammates still fought their way back into it.)

Logan’s “the game was already over” statement doesn’t speak well for his competitiveness, but Logan said he still expects to be an NFL return man in 2013.

“I’ll just keep moving forward whether it’s with Detroit or another team,” he said.

Given Schwartz’s comments about Logan, it will probably not be with Detroit.