CHICAGO -- Josh Huff puffed as he blew past the Bears' kickoff coverage team for an eye-opening 102-yard kickoff return that gave the Eagles a 21-14 lead during the preseason opener on Friday night. With the nominal first-string kickoff returner, Nolan Carroll II, sidelined for the game, Huff took advantage of his opportunity by bursting through with the first special teams touchdown of the season and the first touchdown of the third-round pick's young career.
"Well, the kickoff return was set up by my teammates," Huff said after the game. "I couldn't have done it without them. Before we took place on the field, we came together and said that we were going to have to make a spark, but of course that spark wasn't good enough since we ended up losing the game. But it's the preseason, we have tons of things we can build on as a unit, as a kick-return unit and as a team in general. But that kickoff return was something special for myself and for my teammates."
Huff returned four kickoffs on the night, averaging 35.8 yards per return. It was his third return, though, that will leave the lasting memory.
"My eyes actually got big when I saw the kicker one-on-one, so I just made a play," Huff said before he stiff-armed Robbie Gould. "I couldn't (let the kicker tackle me) or I would have been made fun of, not only by people here but by my college coach … I definitely couldn't let the kicker tackle me."
As a receiver, Huff only caught one ball for 4 yards in his debut, and he admitted that there are still some things he needs to work on in terms of improving his chemistry with the respective quarterbacks. As for whether he thinks the return touchdown gives him a leg up in the competition for the position, Huff remained humble.
"We have a great group of guys as returners and I had my chance to go out there and show what I can prove, show what I can bring to this team," said Huff. "I did that a little bit. We still have more preseason games to go and I'm still going to grow as a player, and we'll continue to grow as a unit. But it's definitely something special being back there with the group of guys."
For now, Huff will have to settle for the souvenir that was resting atop his locker – the touchdown ball itself.
"Most definitely, I had to keep that ball," Huff said with a smile. "Even though it's the preseason, it's my first touchdown. That's something special."