Kassim Osgood joked this season that he’d make a great defensive end in the NFL if Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham would ever give the 6-foot-5, 220-pound receiver a chance to gain 30 pounds and put his hand in the dirt.
Osgood’a position is officially listed as wide receiver, but he’s made more of an impact over his 10-year career tackling would-be returners than catching touchdowns. It’s earned him three Pro Bowl nods as a specialist, too.
The Lions signed Osgood before the season to be a gunner on special teams. He finished the 2012 season with seven special teams tackles and one fumble recovery, earning him the Yale Lary Special Teams Most Valuable Player Award, which is voted on by the players.
The special teams coverage units struggled during the early portion of the regular season as the Lions became the first team in the modern era to allow both punt and kickoff return touchdowns in the same game in back-to-back weeks in losses to the Titans and Vikings back in September.
Following the Week 4 loss to the Vikings though, the coverage units – led by Osgood – allowed just 6.2 yards per punt return and 20.5 yards per kickoff return the rest of the season with no touchdowns.
Osgood had probably his finest game of the season Week 17 vs. the Bears. He tackled Bears all-world punt returner Devin Hester at the Chicago 18-yard line for a minus-1 yard return in the first quarter and then tackled Hester again at the Bears 5-yard line following a kickoff in the fourth quarter.
The Yale Lary Award is given in honor of Yale Lary, an All-Pro defensive back, who also was one of the NFL’s greatest punters. While Lary collected 50 career interceptions playing safety for the Lions, he became an even more valuable weapon on Detroit’s special teams. Lary won NFL punting titles in 1959, 1961 and 1963, missing in 1962 by just 3.6 inches. Lary played in nine Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
Osgood is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
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Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 4 Comments »