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Mike McDaniel weighed risk-reward in not letting Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle return kicks

While Mike Florio and Chris Simms agree the Dolphins needed a backup for injury-prone Tua Tagovailoa, they evaluate if Mike White is the right guy for the job due to his own health history.

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said last year that he was considering using wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to return punts or kickoffs, but he didn’t follow through on it, even as Miami struggled in the return game. This week, McDaniel said he decided it just wasn’t worth the risk.

Hill returned just two punts last season and no kickoffs, and Waddle never returned any kicks at all. Both players were willing to do it, and McDaniel talked about it with special teams coach Danny Crossman, but McDaniel felt that the contributions Hill and Waddle make on offense were too important.

“This is a decision that I make with regard to the players and with Danny and risk-reward for everything,” McDaniel said, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “In this particular season, I probably would have expected them to return more. But then as the games were happening, there was honestly, the stuff that they were able to do offensively and how much of a important feature they were, that’s the way it played out.”

McDaniel suggested that new arrival Braxton Berrios will be the primary punt and kickoff returner this season, though he won’t totally rule out Hill and Waddle occasionally getting an opportunity.

“You always want the threat to be there,” McDaniel said of Hill and Waddle. “And it always will be there because those guys are competitors and can affect the game. But, you know, having a starting point in Braxton, I think is nice as well, where he’s had so much success and then you know, whatever else we can come up with, Shoot, maybe we’ll have three returners out there.”

Hill was a Pro Bowl punt returner as a rookie, and Waddle did some return work as a rookie as well, but that part of their game appears to be in their past.