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B-Mitch: 'My Numbers Speak For Themselves'

Posted Feb 14, 2014

With the 2014 induction of specialist Ray Guy into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, debate rekindles over whether other standouts like Washington Redskins KR/PR Brian Mitchell belongs. He says yes.

As a running back, he had a modest career, rushing 1,967 yards on 388 yards for a 5.1 yards-per-carry average. He also averaged more than one catch per game, hauling in 255 passes in 223 career games, for 2,336 yards (9.2 yards per reception).

But where former Washington Redskin Brian Mitchell made his historic impact was on special teams.

Across 13 seasons, 10 in burgundy and gold, Mitchell piled up 4,999 punt return yards (10.8 yards per return, career) and 14,014 kick return yards (23.1 yards per return, career).

Mitchell led the NFL in all-purpose yards four times in his career, finished with a whopping 23,316 all-purpose yards to his name.

That mark stands second place all-time, to only Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, with 23,546.

Despite the accolades, Mitchell has not joined Rice in the hallowed halls of Canton, falling prey to the purist's bias against specialists.

But after the recent induction of longtime Raiders punter Ray Guy into the Hall of Fame, the time may finally be coming for Brian Mitchell to be getting his just deserts.

As far as B-Mitch is concerned, he, and others, have the necessary credentials.

"You know what, I think we will eventually," Mitchell told Redskins.com, speaking for his fellow returners. "I don’t think it makes any sense. A lot of guys have come along, and you know, I think my numbers speak for themselves."

For modern comparison, only seven punt returners with 20 or more returns last year averaged the double-digit return yards that Mitchell averaged for his career. Of those, only Bears phenom Devin Hester exceeded Mitchell's season-high of 14.1 yards per return, set in 1994.

"I think Devin Hester, what he has done, speaks for itself," Mitchell said. "We hear a lot of guys try to act like, 'Well, special teams, it’s special. You come in for part of the game.'

"A lot of guys tried to do it, they couldn’t do it."

Mitchell credited writers like Peter King for continuing to press the issue in the national conversation, ignoring the illogical arguments that others present.

"You look at guys like Ray Guy. I heard one writer say, 'Well, he couldn’t have done some of the things that Joe Montana did.' Well Joe Montana can’t punt like him," Mitchell cracked.

"You know, if it’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame, you have to basically go out there and represent every position. This is not something where it’s a ‘two-thirds’ Pro Football Hall of Fame."

After all, his numbers speak for themselves.

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