NFL's Best: Top Returners
NFL's Best: Top Returners

The 2014 season featured many exciting plays in the return game. These exhilarating plays, made by some of the game's most dynamic playmakers, started early and kept coming.

Devin Hester recorded his 21st career return touchdown -- including the postseason -- in Week 3 with a 62-yard puntreturn TD for the Atlanta Falcons. Hester's 21 career return touchdowns are the most by a player in NFL history.

"Hester has the perfect combination of skills for a returner," says Baltimore Ravens special teams coordinator JERRY ROSBURG. "He's fast, and he has incredible change-of-direction skills. He can run up and smell somebody's breath and then disappear. Every time you give him the ball, he's a threat to take it to the house."

The Eagles had a trio of kick and punt returners reach the end zone in 2014. Philadelphia's CHRIS POLK (102 yards, Week 3) and JOSH HUFF (107 yards, Week 12) both had 100+ yard kickoff-return touchdowns, making Philadelphia the first team since the 1970 Green Bay Packers to have multiple players with a 100+ yard kickoffreturn touchdown in a season. DARREN SPROLES contributed with an 82-yard puntreturn touchdown in Week 4 and a 65-yard punt-return touchdown in Week 10 on Monday Night Football.

"It's the great returners that can see past the first wave of defenders," says Miami wide receiver JARVIS LANDRY. "Sproles' ability to hit it with speed, and he doesn't hesitate at all, is unique. That's what makes him a premier returner in this league." A sampling of kick-return highlights from the NFL 2014 season:

Knile Davis - Kansas City

Knile recorded a 99-yard kickoff-return touchdown in Week 8, becoming the fifth player in history with a kickoff-return touchdown of at least 99 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons.

Devin Hester - Atlanta

Devin recorded his NFL-record 21st career (including postseason) return touchdown when he returned a punt 62 yards for a score in Week 3.

Josh Huff - Philadelphia

Josh returned the opening kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown in Week 12, the longest score in franchise history.

Micah Hyde - Green Bay

In Week 11, Micah had a 55-yard punt-return touchdown in the Packers' win as Green Bay clinched the NFC North and secured a first-round bye.

Jacoby Jones - Baltimore

Jacoby returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in Week 9 on Sunday Night Football. It was his NFL-record third career regular-season touchdown of at least 105 yards.

Darren Sproles - Philadelphia

In Week 10, Darren Sproles became the first player in NFL history to record a punt-return touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the first quarter of a game.

Leon Washington - Tennessee

Leon reached 7,500 career kickoff return yards (7,553) and is one of two kickoff returners in NFL history with at least 7,500 yards, a 25.0+ average (25.9) and at least five touchdowns (eight).


Top 5 Active Kickoff Returners (40 or more returns)

Rank Player Returns Yards Avg TDs
(Source: NFL)
1.Cordarrelle Patterson772,26429.42
2.Joe McKnight792,27028.72
3.Jacoby Jones1654,52727.45
4.Percy Harvin1474,01927.35
5.Trindon Holliday541,45526.92


Top 5 Active Punt Returners (40 or more returns)

Rank Player Returns Yards Avg TDs
(Source: NFL)
1.Travis Benjamin4053313.32
2.Devin Hester2823,48112.314
3.Jeremy Ross5365012.31
4.Julian Edelman1321,61612.24
5.Golden Tate6878711.60

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