109 yards

109 yards

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An article published this past summer in the Pro Football of Fame’s annual yearbook titled, “Fit to be Tied: Sharing the Glory” focused on a pair of Chicago Bears teammates – Nathan Vasher and Devin Hester.
Heading into this season, the duo shared the mark for the longest return in NFL history.  Vasher made history with a 108-yard return on November 13, 2005.  Almost exactly one year later, Hester added his name to the record book when he returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a score in Week 10 of the 2006 NFL season.  That record was tied yet again when the New England Patriots’ Ellis Hobbs returned a kickoff 108 yards earlier this year.

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The article closed by noting, “maybe someday a future NFL star will return a football 109 yards…”

Well, that “someday” came yesterday as the San Diego Chargers Antonio Cromartie returned a missed field goal 109 yards to close out the first half against the Minnesota Vikings.

Cromartie waited in the end zone as the Vikings’ Ryan Longwell attempted a 57-yard field goal.  The ball fell just short and Cromartie jumped to haul in the ball without stepping out of bounds.  He began his record return down the right sideline.  With the help of some great blocking, he raced end zone to end zone untouched. 

Unlike the mark shared by Vasher, Hester, and Hobbs, the record return yesterday by Cromartie really is “fit to be tied.”

Related links:
Longest returns
NFL.com: San Diego’s Cromartie sets NFL record with 109-yard FG return
 NFL.com Player Pages: Antonio Cromartie | Devin Hester | Nathan Vasher


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