Jacoby Jones adds juice to return game

SAN DIEGO -- After two seasons with little punch in their return game, the San Diego Chargers finally upgraded the position by signing receiver/return specialist Jacoby Jones to a two-year deal.

Although he turns 31 in July, Jones still has some gas left in the tank.

Released by the Baltimore Ravens last week, Jones has four punt returns for touchdowns and five kick returns for scores over his eight-year pro career.

Jones had 10.1 yards per punt return and 27.4 yards per kick return last season, so he will be an important weapon for the Chargers in the battle for field position in 2015. In 2014, San Diego averaged 22.2 yards per kick return (No. 22 in the NFL) and 8.8 per punt return (No. 16 in NFL).

The Chargers have not had a kick or punt returned for a touchdown since Micheal Spurlock's 99-yard kick return against the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 30, 2012.

Along with serving as San Diego’s return specialist, Jones can also work as a complementary receiver, providing Philip Rivers with another pass-catcher who can make plays in space. Jones is experienced, winning a Super Bowl ring while with the Ravens, and has made big plays in meaningful games.

"One of our offseason goals was to improve our special teams, specifically upgrading our return game," said Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco. "We feel Jacoby brings a dynamic aspect to our kick and punt returns that we need, and he also has solid experience playing wide receiver."

Jones earned a Pro Bowl invitation as a return specialist in 2012, and he holds the record for the longest kick return in Super Bowl history, 108 yards for a score in a win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

Jones was in town visiting the Chargers this week after meetings with the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans.

Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal shared punt return duties for the Chargers last season, and Chris Davis took over as the team’s kick return specialist. Jones is an upgrade at both spots, allowing Allen to focus on his receiving duties.

Jones’ signing could signal that the Chargers will move on from Royal, who will become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday.