The Ravens have signed running back Kenjon Barner, the team announced Wednesday, adding an established returner to the mix days before training camp practice starts.
In 14 games last season for the Atlanta Falcons, Barner averaged 7.6 yards per punt return, scoring on a 78-yard return, and 23.9 yards per kick return. He also muffed four punts, losing one fumble.
Ball security is the top priority for Ravens coach John Harbaugh on special teams. With wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas opting out of the 2020 season, sure-handed rookie wide receiver James Proche is the favorite to start at punt returner. At kick returner, running back Justice Hill and wide receivers Chris Moore and Devin Duvernay could contend with Barner for the job.
The 5-foot-9, 195-pound Barner also has experience at running back, though he would be needed only in case of emergency. In seven NFL seasons, Barner has 100 carries for 416 yards and three touchdowns and 28 catches for 152 yards.
With Barner’s signing and rookie fullback Bronson Rechsteiner’s release Monday, the Ravens have the maximum 80 players on roster. Practice starts Monday in Owings Mills.