Rankin on the return

Louis Rankin

Former University of Washington running back Louis Rankin will return kickoffs in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, and also could get some carries.

That was the word today from coach Jim Mora.

Rankin’s potential – not to mention his speed and elusiveness – were factors in the team releasing veteran running back Edgerrin James on Tuesday. Mora said the decision to sign James had not worked out as expected, as the NFL’s active leading rusher averaged 2.7 yards on 46 carries. If James had remained with the team, Mora said it was likely he would have been inactive for games and spent the week working on the scout team.

Rankin was added to the 53-man roster last week, and the coaches have been eager to see what his talents can add to special teams as well as the offense.

“Louis brings an element of speed that I hope helps us,” Mora said.

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