Why Brian Mitchell Is the Best Return Specialist in NFL History

JW NixSenior Writer IIMay 30, 2009

Brian was a college quarterback who was drafted in the 5th round of the 1990 draft by the Washington Redskins.

He was converted to running back, but did his major work as a return specialist in the NFL. Brian split return duties with 2 other players in his rookie season, but did rush for a touchdown 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.

Mitchell then scored on a career long 84 yard punt return the next season.

Brian led the NFL in all purpose yards 4 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. Mitchell piled up a career high 1,478 kickoff return yards that year, while averaging 25.5 yards per return, and made the All Pro team.

His last All Pro season was in 1995, when Mitchell averaged a career best 25.6 yards per kickoff return, and scoring off of a punt return. Brian scored his first kickoff return touchdown in 1997, and also scored on a punt return. Mitchell then scored on a career long 101 yard kickoff return in 1998.

Brian joined the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000. He played 3 seasons with them, and scored a touchdown on both a punt return and kickoff return in two of those years. His last NFL season was the 2003 season, which he played with the New York Giants.

Brian ran for 1,967 yards and 12 TD's at an impressive 5.1 yards per carry average for his career. He also caught 255 passes for 4 TD's. Brian got to throw 18 passes in his career, completed 7 of them, and tossed a TD on the last pass of his career. He also recovered 20 fumbles on special teams in his 13 year career.

The 23,330 total yards he accumulated ranks second all-time in NFL history.

Not only did he average 23.1 yards per kick return on 607 returns, scoring 4 times, he also averaged 10.8 yards per punt return on 463 attempts in his career.

Brian Mitchell holds MANY NFL records.

His 19,013 total return yards is a record, as is his 14,014 kickoff return yards, as is 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.

Brian's 231 fair catches are the most ever in a career, and his 33 in one season is also an NFL record.

He is one of just four players in NFL history to gain over 2,000 yards four times in a career.

Brian Mitchell BETTER NOT wait long for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame!


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