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On This Date in Sports November 9, 1997: Many Happy Returns

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Darrien Gordon gives the Denver Broncos many happy returns as he brings back a pair of punts for touchdowns in the first quarter during a 34-0 blanking of the Carolina Panthers at Mile High Stadium. It marked the ninth time in NFL history that a player returned two punts for a touchdown in the same game. Darrien Gordon finished the game with 168 yards on five punt returns.

Born on November 14, 1970, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, Darrien Gordon began his career with the San Diego Chargers after being taken with the 22nd overall pick in the first round out of Stanford. A defensive back by trade, Gordon quickly established himself as one of the top return men in the NFL. In his second season with the Chargers, Gordon led the league with two punt return touchdowns while recording interceptions and played in Super Bowl XXIX. After spending 1995 on Injured Reserve, Gordon returned one punt in his final year in San Diego.


Singing with the Denver Broncos in 1997, Darrien Gordon had the best season of his career, returning three punts for touchdowns while recording four interceptions as the Broncos won the first of two straight Super Bowls. Gordon did not return another punt for a touchdown in his career after the 1997 season. However, he remained a solid pass defender in Denver. During the 1998 postseason, Darrien Gordon set a franchise record with four postseason interceptions, with two in the AFC Championship Game against the New York Jets and two in Super Bowl XXXIII against the Atlanta Falcons.

After playing in two Super Bowls with the Broncos, Gordon continued his trek through the AFC West by playing with the Oakland Raiders in 1999 and 2000. He would finish his career playing one season with the Atlanta Falcons and one season with the Green Bay Packers before returning to the Raiders at the end of the 2002 season, where he would go on to play in his fourth Super Bowl.

Darrien Gordon retired, holding several Broncos franchise records, including 168 yards in punt returns set in the two-touchdown game against the Panthers. Gordon had 19 interceptions in ten seasons, while his 3,601 punt return yards were ranked third in NFL history at the time of his retirement following the 2002 season.