Jeremy Ross was one of the Detroit Lions' most pleasant surprises last season, especially on kick and punt return. It looked as though he would be the prohibitive favorite to handle those duties in 2014.

Then Detroit went out and signed the best punt returner in the business.

Golden Tate inked a five-year deal with the Lions for what he can provide as a complement to Calvin Johnson in the passing game, but he also was rated by ProFootballFocus as the No. 1 punt returner last season with Seattle.

He says he doesn't know if he'll continue to field punts with the Lions, but hopes to compete for those duties.

"Anytime I can get the ball in my hands and try to create a big play, I want it," Tate said. "I'm not sure what the plan is, as far as the return game goes. I just hope I get the opportunity to prove myself and compete for that job."

Tate averaged 11.5 yards per return last season and had a long of 71. But it will be difficult for Detroit to demote Ross, who was electric after signing midway through last season.

He averaged 16.2 yards on his 15 attempts, which would have ranked third in the league last year had he qualified, and took one to the house against Philadelphia. He also scored on a kick return that week, personally accounting for 12 of Detroit's 20 points in the loss.

Ross has earned a right to compete for the job, but Tate has proven he can do it over the long haul. That should be an intriguing battle to watch throughout camp, provided Detroit allows Tate to compete for it.