Running Back Kenjon Barner was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday for his performance in Atlanta’s Week 11, 29-3, win Carolina.
Barner broke free for a 78-yard touchdown on a punt return in the first quarter of the Falcons’ win over the Panthers. Barner’s return is the second-longest in franchise history, falling just shy of Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’ club-record 79-yard touchdown return in 1990. The former Oregon Duck is the first Falcon to return a punt for a touchdown since Devin Hester in 2014. Barner’s 78-yard return marked the longest punt return of his career and his first career return touchdown.
According to Next Gen Stats, Barner reached a top speed of 19.45 miles per hour and covered 108.53 total yards on the return. Additionally, he now leads the NFL in punt returns, averaging 11.3 yards per return. Barner added two carries for 15 yards and completed a shovel pass for three yards in Sunday’s win.
Barner was originally selected by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round (182nd overall) of the 2013 Draft. The seven-year pro also spent time on the Eagles, Chargers and Patriots. Barner has seen action in 61 games with one start, totaling 100 carries for 416 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 23 receptions for 134 yards. Has recorded 55 punt returns for 492 yards and one touchdown. He also has 39 kickoff returns for 918 yards.
Barner is the second Falcon to win an NFC player of the week award this season. Younghoe Koo won the award last week.