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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.

He is usually one of the faster players on the team, often a backup wide receiver, defensive back, or running back.

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. Dante Hall, Leon Washington, Desmond Howard, Josh Cribbs, Devin Hester, Darren Sproles, Eric Metcalf, Brian Mitchell, Pacman Jones, Billie "White Shoes" Johnson, and Danieal Manning).

Kickoff return touchdown percentage

The following table ranks all National Football League kick returners with at least 4 touchdown returns through the 2008 season by touchdown return percentage:

Top 25 career
Name TD Returns Yards Average TD % Start End
Gale Sayers 6 91 2781 30.56 6.59% 1965 1971
Devin Hester 6 94 2141 22.8 6.38% 2006 present
Travis Williams 6 102 2801 27.46 5.88% 1967 1971
Bobby Mitchell 5 102 2690 26.37 4.90% 1958 1968
Ollie Matson 6 143 3746 26.20 4.20% 1952 1964
Leon Washington 4 101 2601 25.76 3.96% 2006 present
Jon Vaughn 4 103 2390 23.20 3.88% 1991 1994
Darrick Vaughn 4 103 2620 25.44 3.88% 2000 2003
Cecil Turner 4 108 2616 24.22 3.70% 1968 1973
Justin Miller 5 141 3745 26.62 3.55% 2005 present
Tony Horne 4 143 3577 25.01 2.80% 1998 2000
Timmy Brown 5 186 4781 25.70 2.69% 1959 1968
Abe Woodson 5 193 5538 28.69 2.59% 1958 1966
Joshua Cribbs 8 209 5507 26.35 2.26% 2005 present
Andre Coleman 4 193 4446 23.04 2.07% 1994 1998
Ron Brown 4 199 4493 22.58 2.01% 1984 1990
Terrence McGee 4 206 5420 26.31 1.94% 2003 present
Tamarick Vanover 4 226 5422 23.99 1.77% 1995 1999
Mel Gray 6 421 10250 24.35 1.43% 1986 1997
Dante Hall 6 426 10136 23.79 1.41% 2000 2008
Michael Bates 5 373 9110 24.42 1.34% 1993 2003
Allen Rossum 5 506 11779 23.28 0.99% 1998 present
Brian Mitchell 4 607 14014 23.09 0.66% 1990 2003

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