DEVIN HESTER YOU ARE RIDICULOUS! Imagine having the power to have punters and kickers make it their mission to kick away from you. These players have that power. This list is based off the best kick returners and best punt returners of all-time in combination. With no surprise, most of these guys are also some of the fastest players in NFL history.
For the updated 2022 version of this list of best kick returners and best punt returners, click here!
#10 – Darren Sproles
Kicking off this list a little astray from the fan voting. Darren Sproles has defied the laws of physics of what a 5’6″, 190 pound man can do. You would think that this man would have been broken in half by now, but he has gone strong for a 14 year career in which he found great success as both a pass catching and return specialist.
Credit that to his elusiveness. Just when you think you have him lined up, he snakes his way out of a hit with his elite quickness. He retired last season tied for the 10th most kick/punt return touchdowns and was often found atop the leagues leaders for all-purpose yards because of this versatility.
#9 – Desmond Howard
Returning a kickoff for a touchdown on the biggest stage in sports brings a certain spotlight. Desmond Howard did exactly that icing the game in the Super Bowl vs the Patriots scoring the only kickoff return touchdown of his career.
That being said was he was a punt return specialist still holding the record for most punt return yards in a season with 875. He also sits 7th all-time in yards per punt return and 4th all-time in punt return touchdowns.
#8 – Cordarrelle Patterson
How can someone who doesn’t return punts be on a list of best returners ever? It’s simple. Cordarrelle Patterson may very well go down as the best kick returner ever. The NFL has made it their mission to add rules that eliminate kick returning, but that doesn’t stop Patterson. He is that good.
Patterson has averaged a kickoff return touchdown per seasons in the NFL and currently sits 2nd in average yards per kick return, only behind hall of famer Gale Sayers. He is also 1 touchdown away from being tied for most kickoff return touchdowns in NFL history paired with holding the record for longest play ever with his 109 kickoff return TD.
This is a guy with freakish athleticism and is still only 28 years old. It would not shock me at all if he breaks the all-time kickoff return TD record and becomes the first player to break into double digits because he is after all one of the fastest players in the NFL.