Jakeem Grant might be the best returner in football.
He definitely believes he’s the fastest.
Grant insists he didn’t even hit top speed during his 88-yard punt return for a touchdown Sunday — even though he was moving pretty good when he got the sideline and turned on the jets.
“Probably about 80 [percent] to get around the edge and just a little short burst to get to the end zone, just to make sure nobody was behind me,” Grant said. “Until someone’s actually right there, then I’ll run full speed. Until then, no point.”
Grant’s score was both hugely impactful — it helped lift a Dolphins team that got little from its offense Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams — and hugely impressive, considering whom it came against.
Johnny Hekker is an elite punter. Sunday marked the first time since 2015 he gave up a return for a touchdown and just the second time in his nine-year career.
But Grant took it to the house, becoming the first player in the NFL this season to return a punt for a touchdown. The 88-yard return was the longest in franchise history. He now owns the team record in total return touchdowns (five) and punt return touchdowns (three).
“We know that Hekker is a great punter,” he said. “It was only one opportunity. I made the most of it.”
On the season, Grant averages 14.2 yards per punt return, which also ranks in the top five league-wide.
Cordarrelle Patterson is probably the best active kick returner in football — he’s certainly the most accomplished — but a strong case could be made for Grant being the best all-around returner.
When asked about extending his own franchise record, Grant responded:
“It means a lot. I feel like that’s one stepping stone up Mount Everest. The season’s not over. I can still continue to break that record, and that’s my goal. I’m going to continue to try to break it each and every game. I’m not done, I’m not finished.”
Added Dolphins coach Brian Flores: “Jakeem I thought played a great, great game and we’ve been talking about one block away in the kicking game really all year, and we broke one today, and it was a big play, along with a lot of other plays.”