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  • The lead section is somewhat lacking in references. Would it be possible to add some more?
  • Do you have citations for the second paragraph in #Possible removal?

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In American and Canadian football, a kick returner (KR) is the player on special teams who is primarily responsible to catch kickoffs and attempts to return them in the opposite direction. If the ball is kicked into his own endzone, he must assess the situation on the field while the ball is in the air and determine if it would be beneficial to his team for a return. If he decides that it is not, he can make a touchback by kneeling down in the end zone after catching the ball, which gives his team the ball at their own 20-yard line to start the drive.

Chicago Bears' kickoff returner Devin Hester

He is usually one of the faster players on the team, often a wide receiver, defensive back, or running back. While starters on offense or defense sometimes assume this role, it is usually given to backup in order to prevent them from spending more time on the field and taking extra hits.

A kick returner might also double as a punt returner as well.

Sometimes players who make big plays at the punt or kick returner positions become well known "return specialist" players (e.g. Dan Trueman).

History and Records[edit]

The longest kickoff return in the history of the National Football League has been recorded four times. Ellis Hobbs, 2007, Randall Cobb, 2011, and Jacoby Jones, 2012 and 2013, all returned kickoffs 108 yards for touchdowns.[1] Devin Hester currently holds the record for most kickoff returns for a touchdown in NFL history at 5. Hester holds the overall record for special teams returns for a touchdown at 18( 12 punts, 5 kickoffs, and 1 missed field goal). Hester also holds the record for kickoff return touchdowns in a single game, where he recorded two against the St. Louis Rams on December 11, 2006.

Hall of Fame[edit]

Gale Sayers was an All-Pro running back who also returned punts and kicks for the Chicago Bears. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. He holds the record for the highest kicoff return average at 30.56 yards per attempt. He also holds the record of return touchdowns at 2 in a game with many others, though he is often thought of as the greatest of time.[2]

Deion Sanders played cornerback for multiple NFL teams, but also specialized as a kick returner and a punt returner. Sanders is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2011. Sanders totaled 3,523 kick return yards in his career, including 3 touchdowns. Sanders was also an outstanding punt returner.

Possible removal[edit]

The kickoff return has been widely labled as maybe the most dangerous play in American Football. The distances between players is greater, leading to bigger collisions. Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, has said he has "mulled" the idea of removing the kick off from the game.[3] [4] When the NFL moved the line of scrimage on the kickoffs to increase touchbacks, many players felt it was a matter of time until they took out the play completely. Alternatives to the kickoff return have been suggested by many of the league's personel.

For example, instead of a kickoff and return, the team recieving the ball would automatically start it's drive from the 20-yard line. Antoher alternative was suggested by Greg Schiano, head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "After a touchdown or field goal, instead of kicking off, a team would get the ball on its own 30-yard line, where it's fourth-and-15," TIME's Sean Gregory writes. "The options are either to go for it and try to retain possession or punt. If you go for it and fall short, of course, the opposing team would take over with good field position. In essence, a punt replaces the kickoffs." The proposal to remove the kickoff has also been met with criticism. Many feel that by taking away a significant and physical aspect of the game, you are radically changing the sport entirely. Many players in the NFL consider themselves return specialists, and are signed to teams specifically for that purpose. If the reutrn was taken out of football, many of these players could potentially be released.

Positions in American football and Canadian football
Offense (Skill position) Defense Special teams
Linemen Guard, Tackle, Center Linemen Tackle, End Kicking players Placekicker, Punter, Kickoff specialist
Quarterback (Dual-threat, Game manager, System) Linebacker Snapping Long snapper, Holder
Backs Halfback/Tailback (Triple-threat), Fullback, H-back, Wingback Backs Cornerback, Safety, Halfback, Nickelback, Dimeback Returning Punt returner, Kick returner, Jammer
Receivers Wide receiver (Eligible), Tight end, Slotback, End Tackling Gunner, Upback, Utility
Formations (List)NomenclatureStrategy

Category:American football positions