Los Angeles Times

Sam Farmer: Kickoff returns are down, and so is one of the best who ever returned them

Not many happy returns. Not many at all.

The NFL has all but phased out one of its most exciting plays - the kickoff return - with about three out of four kickoffs now resulting in touchbacks.

That's a complete reversal from 10 years ago, when 76.4% of kickoffs were returned through the first month of games.

The shift is certainly not by accident. The league felt it essential to address one of its most dangerous plays, where car-crash collisions were common, and injuries plentiful.

Through the first

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