Friday night, he showed he can be more than just a reliable possession receiver.
With three seconds remaining in the first half, firm-footed kicker Matt Prater attempted a 62-yard field goal. The kick fell short of the goal posts and into the arms of Humphries, who took the field after Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter wisely called a timeout to insert the usual receiver. Humphries took the ball on a meandering journey down the field, evading tacklers and receiving timely blocks on the way to a 109-yard return for a touchdown.
Talk about a timely play, even in a preseason game.
"I knew it was going to be short and I knew there was an opportunity to return it," Humphries said afterward, via the team's official site. "We actually repped that in practice about two-and-a-half weeks ago. So, I'm glad Coach Koetter called a timeout and was able to get me in there and the defense did a great job blocking for me. So, it was awesome to get that in the end zone."
While preseason games often offer fringe players the opportunity to earn a roster spot, Humphries instead proved his value with a play that came outside of the usual offense. On the other sideline, first-year coach Matt Patricia was dealing with the immediate frustration of a total failure.
Plenty of Lions were within range of a half-ending tackle, but instead came up short. Afterward, Patricia saw it as a valuable teaching moment gained in an inconsequential contest.
"Obviously, it wasn't a very good play," Patricia said, per MLive.com. "Horrific, to be honest with you. But we coach situational football all the time, and pretty much showed the Auburn play here earlier in the week -- Auburn-Alabama -- and pretty much came back to get me on that one. But we'll go back and look at it and we need to teach off that moment. It's something we've got to learn from. There's a time and point where that play might come up and we got to be able to execute it properly."
It's better to experience the frustration of a negative play in the preseason than in the regular season. While Detroit will go back to the film and the practice field to ensure it doesn't happen again, Humphries can head to bed with a smile on his face, knowing he provided an example of his worth -- and a memory for Bucs fans who took time to watch their team in a tune-up game.