Eric Metcalf was drafted with the 13th pick of the first round in the 1989 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was a very versatile player that returned kicks and punts all through his career and played both wide receiver and running back at different times. His small stature, being just 5′ 10″ and weighing about 190 pounds, made it hard for some teams to find a spot on the field for him. Many thought him too short to play wide receiver and too small to take the pounding at running back. Metcalf would confound the experts though and put together a 13 year NFL career.
Here are some interesting facts about the career of Eric Metcalf.
-He lead the NFL in kick returns for touchdowns in 1990, and then lead the league in punt returns for touchdowns in 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1997.
-He spent time listed as both a running back and a wide receiver during his career. This is not a common thing to do, but was also done by his father Terry Metcalf who played in the NFL from 1973 to 1981.
-Twice Eric Metcalf had the longest punt returns of the year during his career. His 91 yarder in 1993 and then his 89 yarder in 2001 were longer than any other punt returns during those seasons.
-He spent the first six years of his career with Cleveland, then two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. His last five seasons in the NFL were each spent with different NFL teams: San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, and Green Bay Packers.
-At an indoor track meet while in high school, Eric Metcalf participated in the long jump and jumped a distance of 25′ 5-1/4″. As of 2009, this was still the 7th longest jump ever by a United States high school athlete.
-During his rookie season, Metcalf threw the only touchdown pass of his career, a 32 yard strike to wide receiver Reggie Langhorne in the 4th quarter of a 28-17 win over the Houston Oilers.
-At the time of his retirement, Eric Metcalf was ranked in the top 10 all time in the NFL in the category of all purpose yards. His rushing yards (2,392), receiving yards (5,572), punt return yards (3,453), and kickoff return yards (5,813) gave him 17,230 all purpose yards during his career.
-During his career he set the record for most punt returns for touchdowns in a career with 10.
-He is the first, and so far only, player to ever gain more than 7,000 yards on offense and 7,000 yards on special teams during their career in the NFL.