At 30 yards a return, Cordarrelle Patterson approaching Gale Sayers territory

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In the history of the NFL, Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers is the only player who has averaged 30 yards per kickoff return for his career. Current Bears kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson is getting close.

Patterson had two kickoff returns on Monday night, one a 104-yard touchdown and the other for 31 yards. That performance improved Patterson’s career average to 29.9 yards per kickoff return, the second-best in NFL history. Patterson is just a whisker short of 30 yards a return for his career, putting him second in NFL history behind Sayers’ mark of 30.6 yards per kickoff return.

Monday night’s kickoff return touchdown was the eighth in Patterson’s career, tying him with Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington for the all-time NFL record.

Sayers had six kickoff return touchdowns, but he did it in a short career that saw him return just 91 kickoffs before retiring. Patterson has 230 career kickoff returns. So Patterson isn’t providing highlight-reel returns quite as frequently as Sayers did. But he’s returning kickoffs like no one since.

7 responses to “At 30 yards a return, Cordarrelle Patterson approaching Gale Sayers territory

  1. The difference is Sayers was a great All Around Running Back.
    Patterson is only a good special teams player.

  2. no doubt the guy can run fast on a straight line in the open but itsbewildering why they keep force feeding him the ball out of the backfield where he has zero elusiveness. strange.

  3. Let’s not forget he’s doing thus in an era where the league has been trying to eliminate the kickoff from existence. Kicking it from the 35, no wedges and the dude is still one of the best ever. Could you imagine him returning kicks in the 90s?

  4. Apples and oranges. When Sayres played, kickoffs were from the 40 and the kicking team only had 5 guys on the first line of the return team. Plus they could get a running start. Now they kick from the 35 and there are 8 return team members between their 40 and the kicking team’s 45-yard line. This change was made to protect the return man, making it easier for him to “safely” advance the ball down the field. This was a significant rules change – akin to ending bump-and-run coverage and issuing skirts to quarterbacks. It’s a lot easier to rack up return yardage now.

    Patterson is a great returner, but let’s not get carried away and put him in the same category as Gayle Sayers.

  5. Fant√°stic special teams player. I really wish the league hadn’t messed with the kickoff rule. It is a great play to watch and an integral part of the game. It is beyond dull to see the guy kick it for a touchback most of the time and when they don’t, the kicking team is already at the 20 when the returner catches the ball.

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