NFL Kickoff Returner

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

Are you interested in a job in the Sports industry as an NFL Kickoff Returner? As a Kickoff Returner, your primary job is to catch the ball kicked by the opposing team and run it back towards their end zone. This is a high-pressure job, as you are the first line of offense and every play can make a big difference in the game. You need to have lightning-fast reflexes, excellent vision, and the ability to make split-second decisions in order to be successful. 

Your role as an NFL Kickoff Returner is crucial to the success of your team. You need to be good at reading and analyzing the opposing team’s special teams, and use your athleticism to maneuver past defenders and make plays. Communication and teamwork are also key, as you will be working closely with your teammates to set up blocks and create opportunities. 

In order to be considered for this exciting career, you need to have a deep knowledge of football and what it takes to succeed in the NFL. You also need to have excellent physical fitness, be mentally tough, and have the discipline to prepare yourself both on and off the field. If you think you have what it takes to become an NFL Kickoff Returner, start working on your skills and gear up for an exciting career in the Sports industry!

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Catch the football and run with it as far as possible toward the opposing team's end zone.
  • Avoid getting tackled by the opposing team players by using quick footwork and evasive maneuvers.
  • Follow the blocks set up by the return team's blockers to create running lanes.
  • Stay alert for the oncoming defenders who try to knock down or slow down the returner.
  • Communicate with the other returner(s) to decide who will catch the ball and which route to take.
  • Make smart decisions on whether to return or fair catch the ball depending on the game situation and field position.
  • Possess good vision and field awareness to read the blockers and identify gaps in the defense.
  • Have high-speed and acceleration abilities to gain yards and switch direction quickly.
  • Be mentally tough and confident to handle pressure situations and make split-second decisions.
  • Follow the coach's instructions and execute the game plan by staying disciplined and focused.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a NFL Kickoff Returner, education is not as important as experience. Most people who excel at this position have a lot of football experience under their belt, and they gained this experience by starting to play at a young age. They likely played at the high school or even college level before being scouted by the NFL. Many Kickoff Returners have a background as a Wide Receiver or Running Back, as these positions teach the player how to read defenses and react quickly. It's also important for a Kickoff Returner to have good communication skills and the ability to work well on a team. Overall, a combination of experience, natural ability, and hard work will get you closer to becoming a NFL Kickoff Returner.

Salary Range

Have you ever wondered what an NFL Kickoff Returner's salary range is? In the United States, the average salary for a kickoff returner is $850,000 per year. However, this can vary depending on the player's experience, talent, and performance. Some top NFL kickoff returners make well over $1 million per year.

While data for kickoff returner salaries in other countries is limited, professional football leagues in countries like Canada and Mexico also offer salaries for their kickoff returners. In the Canadian Football League (CFL), kickoff returners make an average salary of around CAD 50,000-70,000 per year.



Career Outlook

The career outlook for a NFL kickoff returner in the sports industry over the next 5 years is uncertain. While the demand for talented returners is still high, the increasing concern for player safety has led to rule changes in kickoff returns. In fact, the number of kickoff returns dropped to a historic low in 2019, and it is likely that the trend will continue in the future. However, teams still value players who can make a difference in a game, and kickoff returners have the potential to do so. Thus, as long as they are versatile and have diverse skills, they will continue to be in demand. Sources: USA Today, ESPN.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What is a NFL Kickoff Returner?

A: A NFL Kickoff Returner is a player responsible for catching kickoffs and returning them as far downfield as possible. They must be fast, agile, and know how to break through the opposing team's defense.

Q: What skills do you need to be a NFL Kickoff Returner?

A: NFL Kickoff Returners need to be fast, have excellent reflexes, and be able to read and react to the opposing team's defenders quickly. They must be able to catch the ball cleanly and run it back while avoiding tackles.

Q: How does a Kickoff Returner's performance affect the game?

A: A Kickoff Returner's performance can make a big impact on the game's outcome. If they can return the ball past midfield, it can set up their offense to score a touchdown easily. Additionally, a good Kickoff Returner can give their team good field position, which helps their offense avoid a long drive.

Q: Can anyone become a Kickoff Returner?

A: While anyone can technically try to become a Kickoff Returner, not everyone can succeed in this role. You need to have a good combination of speed, agility, and field vision, as well as the ability to read and react to the opposing defense quickly.

Q: What other positions can a Kickoff Returner play?

A: Some Kickoff Returners also play other positions on the field, most commonly wide receivers or running backs. Their speed and agility make them ideal for these roles, but they must also be able to catch passes and make runs as well.

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