Saturday, August 11, 2001

Lions returner scores twice

The Associated Press

        PONTIAC, Mich. — Larry Foster isn't even the starting kick returner on the Detroit Lionbs, which makes his two touchdowns against the Bengals Friday night all the more surprising.

        Foster, a likely backup to Desmond Howard, returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown and returned a kickoff 101 yards for another TD.

        “I feel good about today,” Foster said after the 27-24 loss to the Bengals. “But Desmond is still the guy, no doubt about it. Tonight, he was my mentor. Every time I stepped out on the field, he was there to give me some advice.”

        Detroit's new West Coast offense looked promising early, while many of the regulars were still in the game. Things got a little ragged after that.

        Charlie Batch had Foster wide open on Detroit's first snap, but the ball was caught out of bounds. On the next snap, Batch found Johnnie Morton wide open down the sideline. Free safety Chris Carter caught up with Morton at the 2, but couldn't haul him down.

        “That's what I love about this offense,” Morton said. “If you give the quarterback enough time, there's always going to be someone open. They had a good defense for the play, but we were still able to find the open man.”

        Foster, a second-year receiver the Lions picked up as an undrafted free agent out of LSU last year, made it 14-0 with an 80-yard punt return 26 seconds into the second quarter.

        Foster electrified the Silverdome crowd, announced as 55,744, when he opened the third quarter by taking the kickoff up the Bengals' sideline for a touchdown that gave Detroit a 24-10 lead.

        Lions Notes: Matt Millen, the new president and CEO of the Lions, was on the field during warmups. Millen, who likes to take a turn at linebacker during some team drills in camp, sought out several players for brief words, shaking hands and patting backs... Detroit's James Hall had seven tackles, including four sacks, for 27 yards in losses.


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