Tyreek Hill a puzzling choice as all-decade punt returner

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The NFL’s all-decade team for 2010 to 2019 includes many great players and future Hall of Famers, but it also includes some head-scratching decisions. One of them is the presence of Tyreek Hill as the all-decade punt returner.

Hill is undeniably electrifying with the ball in his hands, but was he really the best punt returner in the NFL over the last decade? No. He wasn’t. And he wasn’t even close.

For his career, Hill has totaled 85 punt returns for 1,009 yards. He ranks 25th in punt return yards for the decade. Since his rookie year, Hill barely even qualifies as a punt returner at all. Although he was excellent as a punt returner as a rookie in 2016, with a league-leading 592 punt return yards, he became only a part-time return man in 2017 and 2018 and totaled just 417 punt return yards in his next two seasons combined. In 2019 he played offense almost exclusively and had zero punt return yards. So Hill has one season as a full-time punt returner and two seasons as a part-time punt returner on his résumé. That’s enough to make him the best punt returner of the decade?

Devin Hester had more than twice as many punt return yards as Hill in the decade, plus a higher yards-per-return average and more touchdowns, and yet Hester wasn’t chosen as the all-decade punt returner. Hester did make the all-decade team as a kick returner, but if the all-decade team was going to have separate spots for returning kickoffs and returning punts, then putting Hester at both positions would have made more sense than putting Hill at the punt return position when he only returned 85 punts.

Several other players would have been better choices for all-decade punt returner than Hill. Marcus Sherels and Ted Ginn both had more than twice as many punt return yards as Hill. Julian Edelman, Dwayne Harris, Patrick Peterson, Antonio Brown and Travis Benjamin all had more punt return yards and as many touchdowns as Hill.

Maybe some voters thought Hill belonged on the all-decade team simply because he has had so many highlight-reel plays, but most of those plays were as a receiver, not a punt returner. If the voters really wanted Hill on the team, he would have been a better choice for the “flex” position, which went to Darren Sproles, than the punt return position.

All-decade teams are important in assessing NFL history, and often used to bolster the Hall of Fame candidacies of players. That’s why it’s important to get the choices right, and in the case of Hill, the choice was wrong.

72 responses to “Tyreek Hill a puzzling choice as all-decade punt returner

  1. The voters were just thinking about the children. If he wasnt on the team, he would have learned about the snub and then someone would have had to pay for his anger management and violent tendencies. The history of domestic violence doesnt help either. Since he is quarantined with the rest of the world, we know who that someone would have been.

  2. Much agreed and also much appreciation for the Marcus Sherels nod. If anyone deserves it after Devin Hester it’s that dude. Guy’s been a true returner for almost the entire decade and he got yards and rarely made a mistake or lost the ball.

  3. As I recall Hester padded his stats with easy rules; he hasn’t been nearly as good after the rules change; Hill has done most of his returns under the new rules.

    I guess those who use child abuse as a reason to whine about a player are just very selective in the ones they insult. Over in Washington the abuser is applauded for having two above average games in a season only to disappear the rest of the season.

    As far as woman abusers, no one gets a pass like the big lunk in Pittsburgh that made it a point to hit the women he dated early in his career.

    But one should not stand in the way of people failing to make a point with logic while they seek to just make a rancid point.

  4. Adrian Beaterson.. not mentioned in your comments section? You know… the guy that was actually tried in a court of law and found guilty. Tyreek not so much but lets bash him anyway.

  5. One of the most freeing experiences you can have is to come to the realization that these lists are never, ever, intended to be serious analytical presentations. They were originally designed to sell newspapers and magazines and now they are designed to get clicks. Yes, I realize it is the NFL and not the media technically putting the list together- but the NFL knows that the more media attention they get, the better for business.

    “Controversial” picks like Hill are done intentionally to create controversy and increase attention.

    Once you realize little things like this, you will enjoy life much more.

  6. “As I recall Hester padded his stats with easy rules…”
    ____________

    It’s amazing how often these guys’ recollections are completely wrong.

  7. jdubkc says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:20 am
    Adrian Beaterson.. not mentioned in your comments section? You know… the guy that was actually tried in a court of law and found guilty. Tyreek not so much but lets bash him anyway.
    ——————-
    Hill plead guilty to abusing his pregnant girlfriend.

  8. Someone thought there weren’t enough Chiefs in there and Hester was already in as the KR. And that’s because these manufactured lists are all about spreading the love across the league.

  9. It’s just as puzzling that this domestic abuser was never punished by the NFL.

  10. lesepi says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:18 am
    As I recall Hester padded his stats with easy rules; he hasn’t been nearly as good after the rules change; Hill has done most of his returns under the new rules.
    —–

    What rules change has there been on punt returns?

    And….um……Devin Hester retired 4 years ago. So you’re right, he hasn’t been as good as when, well you know, he was actually playing.

  11. “As I recall Hester padded his stats with easy rules…”
    ____________

    It’s amazing how often these guys’ recollections are completely wrong.
    —————
    You’re so right. I’m a SF niners guy but I can say easily that Hester was the best I’ve ever seen. Dave Meggett from back in the 80’s was awesome and sure girl beater Tyreek has been pretty impressive but Hester was a serious threat every time he touched the ball and aren’t we slightly biased to guys who’ve done it the right way? Punching kids and threatening women? I’m no #metoo guy but it is 2020….

  12. I feel like this would have been the perfect opportunity to get a player like Edelman onto the team. His post season stats as a receiver are remarkable. But no one is going to argue he should have made the team as a receiver, cuz he was justifiably, and rightly not on the team for that. But this is an opportunity to recognize him as the football player he has been. His championship performances, his ability in the postseason, and the fact that he has been a very good punt returner, all factor in to sliding him into this spot to force him onto the team, as a player that has been well above average in everything he has done, but not good enough at his actual position. I feel like people would respect that more than, lets say, forcing Hill onto the team. Because, this is simply forcing Hill onto the team because he is electric with the ball in his hands. When it seems forced, it is because it is forced. So if you are “forcing a player onto the team”, why not force a more deserving, and less controversial player. This Hill stuff takes some of the shine off of the accolade for everyone else. I used Edelman as the example, because of his obvious post season success, but I’m sure other players could have fit into this argument as well.

  13. Not even close …Deven Hester 20 total KO and Punt returns for TD’s tyreek Hill only has 5. HESTER was the man!!!

  14. I continue to say that all these lists are just a waste of time. They are nothing more than someone’s opinion.
    You might just as well go down to the local saloon in Mayberry and ask Otis the town drunk his opinion for lists such as this. Because it would be just as good and just as irrelevant as this one.

  15. I think Cordarrelle Peterson is a better returner than Hester (and I am a diehard Bears fan), but I understand why Hester was picked. Hill on the other hand? *Shrugs* no excuse there.

  16. It seems that the voters put as much thought into some of this stuff as the fans do. As bad an oversight as this was, who really cares? Of course Hester was considerably better, maybe the best ever. Move on.

  17. I feel like this would have been the perfect opportunity to get a player like Edelman onto the team. His post season stats as a receiver are remarkable……

    __________________________________________________

    are winning superbowls not enough. pats fans have to try to shoe horn their players into every greatest argument. we get it, edelman has had some excellent playoffs, and should be recognized in other capacities. just not here

  18. These “ALL EVERYTHING” lists are ridiculous. I pay less attention to them than political campaigns.
    Can’t we just play the games and everyone is happy with the game itself ?
    Nobody can argue MY player is better than YOUR player,…. blah blah blah.

  19. Angel Valle says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:01 am
    I’ll take jules everyday and twice on sundays he has more heart then anyone !

    49 57 Rate This

    ——————

    He’s only the NFL’s all time leader in punt return average. More outright disrespect to Patriots Greats.

  20. pointtwopsiistheissue says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:47 am
    It’s just as puzzling that this domestic abuser was never punished by the NFL.

    12 8 Rate This

    ———————

    It’s not puzzling at this point at all. Ray Rice, Hunt, Hill, etc,…All play(ed) on AFC teams that posed a threat to NE and would be weaker threats without those players. That’s why he didn’t even look into those incidents, until after the media kept following up on them.

    KC lied about the Hunt thing as did Goodell. Neither simply called the hotel to ask to see the security footage. That’s cheating based on how Goodell testified in court how he uses Article 46. He and his attorneys perjured themselves.

    Goodell cheats in indirect ways. This is one of them.

    I can make a list of a dozen incidents/names deep where no suspension of any kind of very minimal punishment occurred, in the past 10 years, ironically ONLY in the AFC.

  21. ninersapologist says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:51 am
    “As I recall Hester padded his stats with easy rules…”
    ____________

    It’s amazing how often these guys’ recollections are completely wrong.
    —————
    You’re so right. I’m a SF niners guy but I can say easily that Hester was the best I’ve ever seen. Dave Meggett from back in the 80’s was awesome and sure girl beater Tyreek has been pretty impressive but Hester was a serious threat every time he touched the ball and aren’t we slightly biased to guys who’ve done it the right way? Punching kids and threatening women? I’m no #metoo guy but it is 2020….
    _________

    Its funny that you chose Meggett as the other returner, and then attached “girl beater” to Hill. Meggett is currently in prison serving a 30 year sentence for rape. This after he had multiple instances of sexual assault and battery. As a Giants fan, I loved him growing up. Its crazy how kids can idolize monsters without even knowing it.

  22. Hester was a beast as a returner. I remember watching packer bear games with him as the returner and always Knew he could take it to the house at any time. He deserves to be on the all decade team.

  23. Totally agree with article. They never were able to use Hester to do anything else like WR. but he was a hell of a returner

  24. Michael E says:
    April 7, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Drew Brees wants an explanation.

    ***************************************************

    Dome. Playoffs.

  25. You are focusing on Total Yds. WHich of these “more worthy” returners, who have “more total yards” can best Hill’s 11.87 avg yards per return in the decade? Which can best his 4.7% TD per Punt Return average? Answer -NONE.

  26. tylawspick6 says:
    April 7, 2020 at 10:57 am
    Angel Valle says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:01 am
    I’ll take jules everyday and twice on sundays he has more heart then anyone !

    49 57 Rate This

    ——————

    He’s only the NFL’s all time leader in punt return average. More outright disrespect to Patriots Greats.
    ————————————————————————
    Ummm. No.. He is 17th overall with a career avg of 11.2

    Facts… Who needs ’em?

  27. tylawspick6 says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:00 am
    pointtwopsiistheissue says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:47 am
    It’s just as puzzling that this domestic abuser was never punished by the NFL.

    12 8 Rate This

    ———————

    It’s not puzzling at this point at all. Ray Rice, Hunt, Hill, etc,…All play(ed) on AFC teams that posed a threat to NE and would be weaker threats without those players. That’s why he didn’t even look into those incidents, until after the media kept following up on them.

    KC lied about the Hunt thing as did Goodell. Neither simply called the hotel to ask to see the security footage. That’s cheating based on how Goodell testified in court how he uses Article 46. He and his attorneys perjured themselves.

    Goodell cheats in indirect ways. This is one of them.

    I can make a list of a dozen incidents/names deep where no suspension of any kind of very minimal punishment occurred, in the past 10 years, ironically ONLY in the AFC.

    0 0 Rate This
    ****************************************************************************

    Ahahahaha. And yet YOU believe Brady DIDN’T lie about his text’s.

  28. Sure chief and packer fans, compare a guy who plead guilty to choking a pregnant woman to a guy that used traditionally accepted means to discipline his kids. Belts and switches used to be expected ways to punish your kids for being stupid. Look it up. Peterson himself was belted in public by his dad. You can’t change history. Nice try.

  29. Hester is such an obvious layup that even a casual fan could would get it right. They had to really work to mess this one up.

  30. you seem to be focused punt returned yards which is pretty much directly correlated to how many punt returns you had. Grant you mention ave and tds a few time but your case for most of them were just yards, which in my head isn’t the best stat to use. Heck people complain that longevity shouldn’t be consideration for the HOF but this off shoot of that.

  31. Ahahahaha. And yet YOU believe Brady DIDN’T lie about his text’s.
    ————-

    What texts of Brady’s? Do some research before spouting off such nonsense.

  32. fishfan77 says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:34 am
    tylawspick6 says:
    April 7, 2020 at 10:57 am
    Angel Valle says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:01 am
    I’ll take jules everyday and twice on sundays he has more heart then anyone !

    49 57 Rate This

    ——————

    He’s only the NFL’s all time leader in punt return average. More outright disrespect to Patriots Greats.
    ————————————————————————
    Ummm. No.. He is 17th overall with a career avg of 11.2

    Facts… Who needs ’em?

    2 0 Rate This

    —————-

    Sorry. Unless he was passed over by 16 other players in the last 3-4 years, that’s false.

    Your lying can’t change facts.

    “Edelman became, for the moment, the NFL’s all-time leader in career punt return average, with 13.0 yards per return, surpassing the 12.8-yard average of former Chicago Bear George McAfee.”

    Night night, little guy!

  33. iliketurtles says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:50 am
    Sure chief and packer fans, compare a guy who plead guilty to choking a pregnant woman to a guy that used traditionally accepted means to discipline his kids. Belts and switches used to be expected ways to punish your kids for being stupid. Look it up. Peterson himself was belted in public by his dad. You can’t change history. Nice try.

    ————-

    Hill is a horrible person and I don’t like him. How ever just because Adrian Peterson has it done to him makes no excuse for him to do it to his kids. You grow from history you don’t have to repeat history. Thats just an excuse for a player.

  34. This once again shows that sports writers and voters are generally idiots whose opinions aren’t to be taken seriously on anything. And that goes double for the HOF.

  35. iliketurtles says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Sure chief and packer fans, compare a guy who plead guilty to choking a pregnant woman to a guy that used traditionally accepted means to discipline his kids. Belts and switches used to be expected ways to punish your kids for being stupid. Look it up. Peterson himself was belted in public by his dad. You can’t change history. Nice try.

    ==============

    Ah, the “I turned out fine so it’s okay” peanut gallery pipes up.

    A lot of things have been “accepted” by “polite” society while also being monstrously wrong and being seen as such by many sane people.

    No matter what you think about the distant past, belts and switches on a child in the modern day is simply child abuse. Period. No excuses.

    If you think it would be fine for someone to physically attack you because they thought you were “being stupid”, then make your case. Otherwise it’s just stupidity, hypocrisy, and sadism.

  36. tb12bestqbevah says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:39 am
    Tyreek Hill and Kelce, eh? Yeah, no KC bias there at all.

    4 1 Rate This

    ———————-
    surprised there was no Mahomes or Jackson
    recency bias

  37. devindenv says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:36 am
    tylawspick6 says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:00 am
    pointtwopsiistheissue says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:47 am
    It’s just as puzzling that this domestic abuser was never punished by the NFL.

    12 8 Rate This

    ———————

    It’s not puzzling at this point at all. Ray Rice, Hunt, Hill, etc,…All play(ed) on AFC teams that posed a threat to NE and would be weaker threats without those players. That’s why he didn’t even look into those incidents, until after the media kept following up on them.

    KC lied about the Hunt thing as did Goodell. Neither simply called the hotel to ask to see the security footage. That’s cheating based on how Goodell testified in court how he uses Article 46. He and his attorneys perjured themselves.

    Goodell cheats in indirect ways. This is one of them.

    I can make a list of a dozen incidents/names deep where no suspension of any kind of very minimal punishment occurred, in the past 10 years, ironically ONLY in the AFC.

    0 0 Rate This
    ****************************************************************************

    Ahahahaha. And yet YOU believe Brady DIDN’T lie about his text’s.

    1 2 Rate This

    ——————–

    There is nothing to lie about. He offered his phone and then went into a federal court and testified under oath.

    Were you in a coma? He went in and exposed Cheater Goodell and the cheating owners.

    You people can’t change history as much as you want to. lol

  38. The selectors were just thinking of defenseless women and children. It’s important to not to upset Tyreek.

  39. devindenv says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:36 am
    tylawspick6 says:
    April 7, 2020 at 11:00 am
    pointtwopsiistheissue says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:47 am
    It’s just as puzzling that this domestic abuser was never punished by the NFL.

    12 8 Rate This

    ———————

    It’s not puzzling at this point at all. Ray Rice, Hunt, Hill, etc,…All play(ed) on AFC teams that posed a threat to NE and would be weaker threats without those players. That’s why he didn’t even look into those incidents, until after the media kept following up on them.

    KC lied about the Hunt thing as did Goodell. Neither simply called the hotel to ask to see the security footage. That’s cheating based on how Goodell testified in court how he uses Article 46. He and his attorneys perjured themselves.

    Goodell cheats in indirect ways. This is one of them.

    I can make a list of a dozen incidents/names deep where no suspension of any kind of very minimal punishment occurred, in the past 10 years, ironically ONLY in the AFC.

    0 0 Rate This
    ****************************************************************************

    Ahahahaha. And yet YOU believe Brady DIDN’T lie about his text’s.

    ——

    Did brady remove air from the Colts’ footballs as well or were only their balls influenced by the weather?

  40. As puzzling and egregious as voting Chuck Noll as coach of the 80’s Decade Team over more accomplished coaches that decade like Joe Gibbs or Bill Parcells. WTF.

  41. Hester was clearly the best. The people that chose Hill need to go back and watch some history…and read the stats.

  42. There is nothing to lie about. He offered his phone and then went into a federal court and testified under oath.

    Were you in a coma? He went in and exposed Cheater Goodell and the cheating owners.

    You people can’t change history as much as you want to. lol

    *******************************************

    He “offered” his phone AFTER the texts had been DELETED. Laugh all you want, hypocrite.

  43. tylawspick6 says:
    April 7, 2020 at 12:06 pm
    Sorry. Unless he was passed over by 16 other players in the last 3-4 years, that’s false.

    Your lying can’t change facts.

    “Edelman became, for the moment, the NFL’s all-time leader in career punt return average, with 13.0 yards per return, surpassing the 12.8-yard average of former Chicago Bear George McAfee.”

    Night night, little guy!
    ============
    Hmmm….Interesting. According to Pro football reference: (through the 2019 season). Maybe that “for the moment” actually meant for the moment, big guy?
    1 George McAfee+ 12.8 1940-1950 chi
    J. Christiansen 12.8 1951-1958 det
    3 Claude Gibson 12.6 1961-1965 2TM
    4 Bill Dudley+ 12.2 1942-1953 3TM
    5 Rick Upchurch 12.1 1975-1983 den
    6 Tyreek Hill 11.9 2016-2019 kan
    Desmond Howard 11.9 1992-2002 5TM
    8 Billy Johnson 11.8 1974-1988 3TM
    9 Devin Hester 11.7 2006-2016 4TM
    Mack Herron 11.7 1973-1975 2TM
    11 Roscoe Parrish 11.6 2005-2012 2TM
    Bill Thompson 11.6 1969-1981 den
    13 Darrien Gordon 11.5 1993-2002 5TM
    14 Henry Ellard 11.3 1983-1998 3TM
    Rodger Bird 11.3 1966-1968 rai
    Bosh Pritchard 11.3 1942-1951 3TM
    17 Julian Edelman 11.2 2009-2019 nwe

  44. He “offered” his phone AFTER the texts had been DELETED. Laugh all you want, hypocrite.
    —————

    You do know how a text works, correct? The other phones would have had Brady’s texts and they did not. We are all laughing at you.

  45. What is the deal about the phone?? If there was a text sent it would have showed up on the phone it was sent to. The NFL examined EVERY single patriots phone there was no text from Brady on any of them!
    Besides it doesn’t make a difference there was no tampering!! Or evidence of tampering.
    Unbelievable that any one still does not understand 7th grade science! I’m embarrassed for them!

  46. Not only does Marcus Sherels have twice as many punt return yards than Hill. Sherels has more TD’s and more than Ginn too.

  47. Remember Ty telling everyone that Wynn could come back a week early which was against the rules. So adamant about it then blamed the NESN reporter gave him bad information. I can’t wait to see him defend the 13.0 yards return average. Ty being Ty on here.

  48. Agreed about these lists, they are meaningless. It did bring back memories about Hester though, I,hadn’t thought about him in a long time. I am a lifelong Bear fan, not quite old enough to remember Gale Sayers, who many say was the fastest Bear ever. Didn’t see him so I can’t argue that but in my lifetime of following the Bears, Hester was the fastest player on the field with the ball in his hands that played for them. Other guys may have been faster track guys (Willie Gault for example) but for game speed, Hester tops them all. So much fun to watch. Still the only player to ever return the opening kick in a Super Bowl. Of course, it was all downhill from there ……..

  49. Wow! I would say the person who added Hill won this round. If putting Hill on there was to bring attention to the list, look how many comments are on this article. Hill is electric with the ball in his hands. Hester wasn’t nearly as good in the last 3-4 years of his career. Hill terrified kickers and coaches alike. He forced several bad kicks and even out of bounds penalties. He certainly didn’t do it long enough to warrant “all-time”. Criminal- There is literally a player with an ugly past on EVERY NFL team. Some hate greatness.

  50. Angel Valle says:
    April 7, 2020 at 9:01 am
    I’ll take jules everyday and twice on sundays he has more heart then anyone
    —–
    Really?? When someone uses PEDs, that actually shows a LACK of heart. Not willing to put in the extra work it takes to rehab naturally.

  51. I seem to recall Edelman being tops in the punt return category. Hester had a knack for coming up with a big return when it was needed.

  52. Really?? When someone uses PEDs, that actually shows a LACK of heart. Not willing to put in the extra work it takes to rehab naturally.
    —————-

    Well then couldn’t you say in Edeleman’s case he wanted to get back to his team as quickly as he could which does show tremendous heart. If you watched his special that guy went all out during rehab. I am all for PEDs when rehabbing.

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