The Extra Point

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - NFL -

Rules changes aimed at safety have made kick­off re­turns al­most a rar­ity in the NFL. Pun­ters have got­ten bet­ter each year at plac­ing their kicks in spots that make it harder and harder to run back. De­spite all that’s stacked up against them, there are still a few re­turn­ers who can turn the some­times mun­dane kick­ing plays into breath­tak­ing ones.

Mi­ami’s Ja­keem Grant beat out Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill as the NFL’S top re­turner in 2018 in vot­ing re­leased Fri­day by a panel of 10 foot­ball writ­ers for The As­so­ci­ated Press.

Grant re­ceived the honor the same week he was placed on season-end­ing in­jured re­serve with a leg in­jury.

Grant has ex­celled as an all-around re­turner, rank­ing fourth in kick re­turn av­er­age (29.7 yards) and first on punts (16.3) be­fore his in­jury. Only six play­ers have enough re­turns to qual­ify for the league lead­ers in both cat­e­gories.

The re­turn game is growing less im­por­tant by the year. Nearly two-thirds (64 per­cent) of all kick­offs have re­sulted in touch­backs, the most in NFL his­tory, and there have been fewer punt re­turns through 12 weeks than at any point since the merger.

ja­keem grant

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