Sports

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
Mike Nelms 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