Football List of Famous Football Punt Returners

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List of the most famous (American) football punt returners in the history of the sport, listed by popularity with photos of the players when available. There have been many legendary punt 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 punt 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 punt returners may currently be active while others have been retired for quite sometime. This list of the top punt returners in American football includes all the greats from both the NFL and college football.

List items range from Deion Sanders to Desmond Howard.

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

1
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Deion Sanders 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 Punt Returners
Desmond Howard 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 Punt Returners
Billy Johnson 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 Punt Returners
Mel Gray 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
Troy Brown is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Troy Brown 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

6
Charley Trippi is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Charley Trippi 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

7
Brian Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Brian Mitchell 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

8
Darius Reynaud is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Darius Reynaud Running back, Return specialist Darius Reynaud is an American football running back and return specialist who is currently a free agent. He was signed by the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He played ...more

9
Eddie Royal is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Eddie Royal Return specialist, Flanker, Punt returner William Edward "Eddie" Royal is an American football wide receiver and return specialist for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in ...more

10
Steve Breaston is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Steve Breaston Wide receiver Steven William Breaston is an American football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college ...more

11
Brian Westbrook is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Brian Westbrook Running back, Punt returner Brian Collins Westbrook is a retired American football running back who played for nine seasons in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of ...more

12
Justin Forsett is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Justin Forsett Running back, Punt returner Justin Forsett is an American football running back for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. He played college football at California and was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in ...more

13
Cory Ross is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Cory Ross 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

14
Mercury Hayes is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Mercury Hayes 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

15
Bruce Harper is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Bruce Harper 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

16
Clarence Verdin is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Clarence Verdin Return specialist, Punt returner, Wide receiver Clarence Verdin is a former American football wide receiver who played for nine seasons in the National Football League from 1986 to 1994, six of those with the Indianapolis Colts. During his ...more

17
Chris Carr is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Chris Carr 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

18
Marquise Walker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Marquise Walker Punt returner, Wide receiver Marquise Walker is a former professional American football wide receiver and punt returner who signed to play in the National Football League. He played college football at the University of ...more

19
B. J. Sams is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
B. J. Sams 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

20
Mike Nelms is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Football Punt 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

21
Chuck Ortmann is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Chuck Ortmann 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

22
Jon Arnett is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Jon Arnett 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.

23
Thom Darden is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Thom Darden Cornerback, Punt returner, Safety Thomas Vincent Darden is a former American football cornerback, safety, and punt returner who played for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League. In the NFL, he was a three-time ...more

24
Bob Grim is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Bob Grim 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

25
Rollie Miles is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Rollie Miles 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

26
Dan Sandifer is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Dan Sandifer 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

27
Brian Witherspoon is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Brian Witherspoon 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

28
Rickie Harris is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Rickie Harris 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

29
Chad Owens is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Chad Owens 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

30
Glyn Milburn is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Glyn Milburn 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

31
Dante Hall is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Dante Hall 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

32
Reggie Swinton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Reggie Swinton Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Reginald "Reggie" Terrell Swinton is a former American football wide receiver and return specialist.

33
Michael Lewis is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Michael Lewis 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

34
Roell Preston is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Roell Preston Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Roell Preston is a former professional American football player. He was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the fifth round of the 1995 NFL Draft. A 5-foot 10-inch, 187-pound wide receiver from ...more

35
Skyler Green is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Skyler Green Return specialist, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Skyler Green is an American football wide receiver and return specialist who is currently a free agent. He most recently played for the New Orleans VooDoo of the Arena Football League. He was ...more

36
Dick Todd is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Dick Todd Punt returner, Fullback, Defensive back Richard S. Todd was an American football player and coach for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. During his eight-year playing career between 1939 and 1948, Todd played ...more

37
Joe Scudero is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Joe Scudero Punt returner, Kickoff returner, Safety Joseph Andrew Scudero is a former American football safety in the National Football League for the Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played one season in Canada, with the ...more

38
Justin Phinisee is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Justin Phinisee Cornerback, Punt returner, Safety Justin Miles Phinisee is an American football cornerback and punt returner who is currently a free agent. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft. ...more

39
LeRoy Irvin is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
LeRoy Irvin Cornerback, Return specialist, Punt returner LeRoy Irvin is a former American football player. He was a member of the Los Angeles Rams from 1980 to 1989. He played cornerback. He played in the Pro Bowl in 1985 and 1986. He holds the record ...more

40
Gene Derricotte is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Gene Derricotte Halfback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Eugene "Gene" Derricotte is a former American football player who played with the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1944 to 1948. He was one of the University's first African ...more

41
Darrien Gordon is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Darrien Gordon Cornerback, Return specialist, Punt returner Darrien Jamal Gordon is a former professional American Football player who played defensive back for 10 seasons in the National Football League. During that time, he played for 4 different teams ...more

42
George Hoey is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
George Hoey Punt returner, Kickoff returner, Defensive back George William Hoey is a former American football defensive back, punt returner and kickoff returner. He played college football for the University of Michigan Wolverines and professionally in ...more

43
Jeremy Kerley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Jeremy Kerley Return specialist, Punt returner, Wide receiver Jeremy Dashon Kerley is an American football wide receiver and punt returner for the New York Jets of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Jets in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL ...more

44
Dennis Northcutt is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Dennis Northcutt Return specialist, Punt returner, Wide receiver Dennis LaMont Northcutt is a former American college and professional football player who was a wide receiver and punt returner in the National Football League for ten seasons. He played college ...more

45
Antonio Chatman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Antonio Chatman Return specialist, Punt returner, Wide receiver Antonio Tavaras Chatman is a former American football wide receiver and punt returner. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He played college football at ...more

46
Mark Jones is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Mark Jones Return specialist, Punt returner, Wide receiver Mark Christopher Jones is a former American football wide receiver. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He played college football at ...more

47
Gordon Bell is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Gordon Bell Running back, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Gordon Granville Bell is a former American football running back, kickoff returner and punt returner who played for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1973–1975, and professionally for ...more

48
Bill Reinhard is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Bill Reinhard Running back, Punt returner, Defensive back William Carl Reinhard is a former American football player in the All-America Football Conference for the Los Angeles Dons. Born in Los Angeles, California, he played college football at the ...more

49
Ira Matthews is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Ira Matthews Running back, Punt returner, Kickoff returner Ira Richard Matthews, III is a former professional American football player who played kick returner and punt returner for three seasons for the Oakland Raiders. Matthews stood 5"8' and ...more

50
Jim Leonhard is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list List of Famous Football Punt Returners
Jim Leonhard Punt returner, Safety James Andrew "Jim" Leonhard is a former American football safety who played ten seasons in the National Football League. He was signed by the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent ...more