Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Micheal Spurlock was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday.
Spurlock, 26, returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 17 in the fourth quarter. It was the fifth-longest punt return in franchise history. He had two punts returned for 80 yards (40. avg.) against the Saints, and five kicks returned for 116 yards (29.2 avg.). Spurlock will play a familiar foe this Sunday when the Bucs host the Falcons.
The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Spurlock recorded the first kick return for a touchdown in franchise histroy against Atlanta on Dec. 16, 2007. Spurlock won the same award for that game against the Falcons. With the punt return last Sunday, Spurlock became the second player in franchise history to return a kick and punt for a touchdown. Clifton Smith is the other.
“You’re only as good as your last play,” said Spurlock. “Everyone was talking about the kickoff return for a touchdown and all that, but that’s over with. I want everybody to talk about the next play, and then the next one after that until everybody forgets about the first one because I’m running so many back. That’s my mentality.”
Spurlock was signed by Tampa Bay just days before the game with Atlanta. In his return to the team, Spurlock changed jersey numbers, trading in No. 17 for No. 81, which he sported Sunday in New Orleans. Smith and wide receiver Sammie Stroughter had been the Bucs returners for the first 14 games, but both were hurt and placed on injured reserve to end their seasons. Smith suffered concussions in both of the Bucs games against the Carolina Panthers, and Stroughter broke his foot against Seattle.
After being out of the NFL in 2008, Spurlock, who has played in 13 career games with San Francisco and Tampa Bay since 2006, said he plans on taking advantage of his second stint with the Buccaneers.
“It’s a blessing,” said Spurlock. “God has a plan. I think he takes you through some things to get you to some things. It makes you humble and makes you understand that you shouldn’t take this for granted because at any moment it can be taken away from you.”
With Spurlock being named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week the Buccaneers have had the award 26 times in franchise history. He is the third player to win the award this season. Stroughter won the award in Week 6 after a 97-yard return for a touchdown against Carolina. Smith won the award after an 83-yard return against Green Bay in Week 9.
With Spurlock's 77-yard punt return for a touchdwon vs. the Saints, the Bucs became the first team in the history of the NFL to have three different return specialists honored in a season. Smith and Stroughter won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards earlier this season.