|Breaston out to prove he's more than kick returner|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 02 October 2008 16:12|
The speedster from Michigan has carved out a significant role as kick returner for the Arizona Cardinals. With Anquan Boldin probably out for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, Breaston moves into the starting lineup at wide receiver.
It's his biggest opportunity yet to prove himself at the position he loves.
``It means a lot. I really feel that receiver is my primary position,'' Breaston said after Thursday's practice. ``I just want to prove a lot of people wrong.''
Breaston was a fifth-round pick, the 142nd player drafted, in 2007. Everyone knew he was fast - he's the Big Ten career leader in punt return yardage - but teams doubted that he could make it as a receiver.
As a rookie, he won the kick return job, and amassed a combined 1,786 return yards, fourth-most in franchise history. His 73-yard return for a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers was the first by a Cardinals' rookie since 1986.
n was scarce, though, since the Cardinals had Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Bryant Johnson ahead of him. Breaston caught eight passes for 92 yards.
Johnson left via free agency after last season, and the No. 3 receiver job was the most competitive fight of Arizona's training camp. Breaston emerged the leader, and has made the most of his opportunities.
``He had a good spring. He had a good camp. He's worked very hard,'' coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ``He was the guy that really stood out. It's not surprising he carried it over.''
In last week's 56-35 loss to the New York Jets, Breaston caught nine passes for 122 yards, both by far his career bests. Including kickoff and punt returns, his combined yardage of 324 was a franchise record.
``In the first half, I don't know how many big opportunities he had. It seemed like they were kicking off all the time,'' Fitzgerald said. ``He just kept coming no matter what. Guys were hitting him in the mouth, he gets up and comes back and does the two-minute (drill). Steve has really come such a long way. I'm just happy for him.''
Breaston has watched the way Boldin and Fitzgerald, with two Pro Bowl appearances apiece, go about their job.
es their game a lot better.''
As for those who doubted him and passed him by on draft day, Breaston figures he's only beginning to show them just how wrong they were.
``I do have a chip on my shoulder,'' the soft-spoken receiver said, ``just to go out there and try to be a receiver, and a good receiver. Like I said from day one last year, I just want to keep progressing, go forward, don't go backward with my play.''