Green Bay Packers: Titletown's Top 10 Return Men of All Time
It has been a while since the Green Bay Packers have had an electrifying return man. In fact, it was one of their obvious weaknesses throughout their Super Bowl run last season.
Tramon Williams, Jordy Nelson and even undrafted nickelback Sam Shields were shuffled into returning roles in 2010. All of those players excelled at their original positions, but none of them showed much promise at bringing back kicks.
The Pack were then forced to turn to the draft in hopes that their second-round pick, Randall Cobb, can spark the return game in 2011.
There have been several star return specialists who have brought their skills to Titletown at some point during the team's rich history, and maybe Cobb will run his way into this ranking as soon as his rookie year.
Honorable Mention: Willie Wood
Willie Wood may be best-known for returning interceptions as one of the Packers' top safeties of all time, but he also served as a punt returner at times throughout his 12-year career in Green Bay.
Wood led the league with 16.1 yards per punt return in 1961 and also scored two touchdowns.
Although the rest of his seasons as a returner were only mediocre, he is still worth mentioning because his 187 returns and 1,391 yards are the most ever by any Packer player.
10. Billy Grimes
Billy Grimes spent three seasons in Green Bay and led the league in punt return yards in 1950, a year in which he also returned two punts for touchdowns.
He sits behind Desmond Howard in the Packers' record books with an average of 13.24 yards per punt return.
9. Herb Adderley
In addition to being a star cornerback for the Pack during the 1960s, Herb Adderley was also a workhorse kickoff returner throughout his nine seasons in Green Bay.
Adderley returned 120 kicks for 3,080 yards and scored two touchdowns, using his speed on returns of 103 and 98 yards.
8. Robert Brooks
Robert Brooks was mainly a pass-catching threat for the Pack, but when he was given the opportunity to return punts and kicks, he didn't disappoint.
Brooks scored twice on only 51 kickoff returns and once on only 67 punt returns.
7. Al Carmichael
Al Carmichael's 106-yard kickoff return against the Bears in 1956 is the longest in Packers history and is tied for the seventh longest play in NFL history.
Carmichael led the league in return yards for two seasons and was later inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.
His one other kickoff return TD was a 100-yarder.
6. Steve Odom
Steve Odom's 95-yard punt return against the Bears in 1974 is the longest in Packers history.
Odom has the most combined punt and kick return yards in team history and scored three return TDs in six years. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1975.
5. Will Blackmon
Will Blackmon played four seasons for the Pack in the late 2000s, but only saw a notable amount of action in 2007 and 2008.
Blackmon was a fearless return specialist and, in those two seasons, he ran back three punts for a touchdown including a 65-yarder in the Metrodome.
4. Roell Preston
Roell Preston was only a Packer for two seasons, but in 1998 he was selected to the Pro Bowl as a punt and kick return specialist.
Preston was a member of six teams during his NFL career, but he returned one punt and two kicks for a touchdown in his short stay in Green Bay.
He is currently third among Packers players with an average of 26.69 yards per kick return.
3. Dave Hampton
Dave Hampton was a decent running back throughout his nine year career, but his contributions as a kick return specialist during his three seasons in Green Bay are much more memorable.
In each season he took one kick to the house, including a 101-yarder against Minnesota in 1970.
Hampton still holds the team record for the highest career kick return average with 28.16 yards per return.
2. Desmond Howard
Desmond Howard is probably the most popular Packers return man of all time for his MVP performance in Super Bowl XXXI.
Howard's 99-yard kickoff return TD is the longest in the history of the big game, a record that also made him the only special teams player to ever win the Super Bowl MVP.
He came back to the Packers in 1999, but his play was nothing like that of his 1996 season in which he led the league in punt return yards and touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a TD in the postseason prior to the Super Bowl.
Howard also has the highest average in Packers history with 13.83 yards per punt return.
1. Travis Williams
Travis Williams is Titletown's top return man of all time.
His 1967 rookie campaign was simply sensational as he ran back four kicks for touchdowns, setting a NFL rookie record that still stands today. Another record that Williams currently holds is the highest single season kick return average of 41.1 yards.
He also tied a league record in the same year when he scored twice on kickoffs in a single game against the Browns.
Williams played three more seasons with the Packers after his record-breaking rookie year, but he only managed to return one more kick and a punt for a TD.
Although a knee injury ended his career early, Williams was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame as the team's leader in kick return touchdowns for a career, a season and a single game.