There are many excellent return specialists today in Hester, McGee, Cribbs, Carr, Rossum, Davis, Hall, and many more.
Some specialize in returning mainly punts or kickoffs. Some do both.
First we start with the best kickoff AND punt returner in NFL history:
Brian was a college Quarterback who was drafted in the fifth round of the 1990 draft by the Washington Redskins.
He was converted to running back, but did his major work as a return specialist. Brian split return duties with two other players in his rookie season, but did rush for a TD on 15 attempts.
Taking over the full time return duties the next season, Brian led the NFL with 600 punt return yards and two touchdowns. He also averaged 13.3 yards per return, helping the Redskins win Super Bowl XXVI. He was selected to his first All Pro team that year.
He scored on a career long 84 yard punt return the next season.
Brian led the NFL in all purpose yards four times from 1994 to 1998.
In 1994, he led the NFL with a career best 14.1 yards per punt return average. He also led the NFL with two punt return touchdowns. Brian also piled up a career high 1,478 kickoff return yards, while averaging 25.5 yards per return. He would then make the All Pro team.
1995 would be Mitchell's last All Pro season, when he averaged a career best 25.6 yards per kickoff return, and scoring off of a punt return.
He then scored his first kickoff return touchdown in 1997, and he also scored on a punt return. Mitchell scored on a career long 101 yard kickoff return in 1998.
Brian joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000. He played three seasons with them, and scored a touchdown on both a punt return and kickoff return in two of those years.
2003 would be his last NFL season, which he played with the New York Giants.
His 23,330 total yards ranks second All Time.
He averaged 23.1 yards per kick return on 607 returns, scoring 4 times, and also averaged 10.8 yards per punt return on 463 attempts.
Brian Mitchell holds MANY NFL records.
His 19,013 total return yards is a record, as is his 14,014 kickoff return yards, and his 4,999 punt return yards. His 1,070 kick returns are the most ever, and his 9 punt return touchdowns is the second most ever in NFL history.
His 231 fair catches are the most ever, and his 33 in one season is also an NFL record.
Mitchell is one of just four players in NFL history to gain over 2,000 yards four times in his career.
Here is a list of other greats you hopefully haven't forgotten.