Football List of Famous Football Kick Returners

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List of the most famous (American) football kick returners in the history of the sport, listed by popularity with photos of the players when available. There have been many legendary kick returners in the NFL and NCAA, and you'll find all of them on this list below. Some of these men are considered to be the best kick returners to ever play the game, and if you're looking for a specific football player you can look for them by using the "search" function on this list. These amazing kick returners may currently be active while others have been retired for quite sometime. This list of the top kick returners in American football includes all the greats from both the NFL and college football.

List ranges from Deion Sanders to Tom Landry, plus much more.

This list answers the questions, "Who is the greatest kick returner of all time?" and "Who are the best kick returners of all time?"

1
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Deion Luwynn Sanders, Sr. is an American former football and baseball player, who works as an analyst for CBS Sports and the NFL Network. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on ...more

2
Desmond Howard is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Desmond Kevin Howard is a former NFL wide receiver, punt returner and kickoff returner and currently a college football analyst for ESPN. He played football for the University of Michigan from ...more

3
Billy Johnson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner William Arthur Johnson, better known as Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, is a former American football player in the National Football League from 1974 through 1988. He is known for being ...more

4
Mel Gray is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Punt returner Melvin Junius Gray is a former American football kickoff returner in the National Football League. He played with the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Houston Oilers and the Philadelphia ...more

5
Leon Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist Leon Dewitt Washington is an American football running back and return specialist who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He ...more

6
Troy Brown is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Punt returner Troy Fitzgerald Brown is a former NFL wide receiver, cornerback and punt returner in the National Football League. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the eighth round of the 1993 NFL ...more

7
Tom Landry is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Kickoff returner, Punter Thomas Wade "Tom" Landry was an American football player and coach. He is ranked as one of the greatest and most innovative coaches in National Football League history, creating many ...more

8
Mike Goodson is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back Michael Darryl Goodson, Jr. is an American football running back who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He played ...more

9
Charley Trippi is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Halfback Charles Louis Trippi is a former professional American football player for the Chicago Cardinals. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968. Trippi currently resides in Athens, ...more

10
George Gipp is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Halfback, Kickoff returner George "The Gipper" Gipp was a college football player who played for the University of Notre Dame. Gipp was selected as Notre Dame's first All-American and is Notre Dame's second ...more

11
Brian Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Punt returner Brian Keith Mitchell is a former American football running back and return specialist in the National Football League. He was originally drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fifth round of ...more

12
Lemar Parrish is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Lemar R. Parrish is a former professional American football player who played defensive back in the National Football League for the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington Redskins, and Buffalo Bills.

13
Eddie Brown is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Kickoff returner, Safety Paul Edward Brown is a former American football safety in the National Football League for the Cleveland Browns, the Washington Redskins, and the Los Angeles Rams. He played college football at ...more

14
Cory Ross is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Punt returner Cory Ross is a former American football, Canadian football and indoor football running back. He is now the Head Coach of the Omaha Beef of Champions Indoor Football. He most recently played for ...more

15
Mercury Hayes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Mercury Wayne Hayes is a former professional American football and Canadian football wide receiver, kickoff returner, and punt returner. He has played in the National Football League for the New ...more

16
Tyrone Hughes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Tyrone Christopher Hughes is a former American football defensive back in the National Football League for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, and the Dallas Cowboys. He attended and ...more

17
Bruce Harper is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Bruce Harper was an American football running back and kick returner for the New York Jets of the NFL. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Kutztown by the Jets in 1977. Bruce Harper ...more

18
David Palmer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Kickoff returner, Wide receiver David Lee Palmer is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back and kick return specialist in the National Football League for seven seasons. He played ...more

19
Butch Woolfolk is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Harold E. "Butch" Woolfolk is a former American football running back and kick returner who played in college for the University of Michigan and in the National Football League for the ...more

20
Chris Carr is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Kickoff returner Charles Christopher "Chris" Carr is a former American football cornerback, punt returner, and kick returner in the National Football League. He was signed by the Oakland Raiders as an ...more

21
Sam Shields is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Kickoff returner Samuel George Shields III is an American football cornerback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. He was signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He played ...more

22
Del Rodgers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Kickoff returner Rodrick Del Rodgers, is a former professional American football player who was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 3rd round of the 1982 NFL Draft. A 5'11" running back-kickoff ...more

23
B. J. Sams is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Cornerback, Return specialist Bradley Jamar "B. J." Sams is a former American football player who was a wide receiver and return specialist in the National Football League for five seasons. He played college ...more

24
Eddie Saenz is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Halfback, Kickoff returner Edwin Matthew Saenz was an American football running back for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. He played college football at the University of Southern California and was ...more

25
Mike Nelms is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Michael Craig Nelms is a former American football defensive back and kick returner in the National Football League who played five seasons with the Washington Redskins from 1980 to 1984. Before ...more

26
Chuck Ortmann is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Halfback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Charles H. Ortmann is a former American football player who played for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1948 to 1950 and in the National Football League for the Pittsburgh Steelers in ...more

27
Jon Arnett is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Halfback Jon Dwane "Jaguar Jon" Arnett is a former American football player. He was a first-team All-American out of USC and Manual Arts High School.

28
Rashied Davis is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Rashied Khalid Davis is an American football wide receiver. He was originally signed by the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He played college ...more

29
J. R. Reed is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Kickoff returner, Safety Herbert Lee "J. R." Reed is a former American football safety. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played football at Hillsborough ...more

30
Justin Miller is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Justin Matthew Miller is a former American football player who was a cornerback and return specialist in the National Football League for six seasons. After playing college football for Clemson ...more

31
Johnny Williams is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Kickoff returner, Safety John Elliott Williams was an American football defensive back and kick returner in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. He played college football at ...more

32
Bob Grim is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Robert Lee Grim is a former American football player in the National Football League who played from 1967–1977. He played high school football at Red Bluff High School and college football at ...more

33
Abe Woodson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Abraham Benjamin Woodson was an American football cornerback and kick returner who played nine seasons in the National Football League, mainly with the San Francisco 49ers. He also spent two ...more

34
Rickie Harris is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Rickie Calvin Harris is a former American football defensive back in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the New England Patriots. He played college football at the ...more

35
Rollie Miles is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Elmer Roland "Rollie" Miles was a professional football player for the Canadian Football League Edmonton Eskimos. Miles played offence, defence, and special teams, during his eleven ...more

36
Dan Sandifer is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Halfback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Daniel Padgett Sandifer, was an American football defensive back who played with six National Football League teams from 1948 to 1953. Because of WWII, he was one of the few college football ...more

37
Brian Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Punt returner Brian Witherspoon is an American track and field runner and former American football cornerback and return specialist. He was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in ...more

38
Chad Owens is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Chad Owens is a professional American, Canadian and Arena football wide receiver and kick returner for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. He was drafted by the Jacksonville ...more

39
Dante Hall is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Damieon Dante Hall is a former American football return specialist and wide receiver who played nine seasons in the National Football League. Hall is considered one of the greatest return ...more

40
Glyn Milburn is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Punt returner Glyn Curt Milburn is a former American football player. He was the General Manager and the Director of Player Personnel for the Austin Wranglers in the Arena Football League. He holds the ...more

41
Jeremy Bloom is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Kickoff returner, Wide receiver Jeremy Bloom is a three-time World Champion, two-time Olympian, eleven-time World Cup gold medalist and a member of the United States Skiing Hall of Fame. He set the record with six straight ...more

42
Reggie Swinton is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Reginald "Reggie" Terrell Swinton is a former American football wide receiver and return specialist.

43
Gene Mingo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Eugene L. Mingo is a former professional American football player who played several positions including halfback, placekicker, and return specialist. He is widely recognized as the first ...more

44
Jules Rykovich is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Running back, Halfback, Kickoff returner Julius Alphonsus Rykovich was an American football halfback, kickoff returner, and defensive back in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and the Chicago Bears. Rykovich also ...more

45
Tully Banta-Cain is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Defensive end, Kickoff returner, Linebacker Tully Cameron Banta-Cain is a former American football linebacker. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the seventh round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played college football at ...more

46
Michael Lewis is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Michael Lee Lewis is a former American football wide receiver and return specialist who is currently the team ambassador of the New Orleans Saints. He was signed by the Louisiana Bayou Beast in ...more

47
Don Dufek is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Kickoff returner, Safety, Defensive back Donald Patrick "Don" Dufek, Jr. is a former American football player who played safety and special teams for eight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He ...more

48
T. J. Rushing is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Terrall Brent "T. J." Rushing is a professional gridiron football cornerback and return specialist who is currently a free agent. He most recently played for the Saskatchewan ...more

49
Keiwan Ratliff is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Keiwan Jevar Ratliff is an American former football cornerback who played seven seasons in the National Football League during the 2000s. He played college football for the University of ...more

50
Dexter Wynn is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list List of Famous Football Kick Returners
Cornerback, Return specialist, Kickoff returner Dexter Maurice Wynn is an American football cornerback who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college ...more