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LA Chargers: Four greatest one-year wonders in franchise history

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 15: Tre Boston #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts to a play against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 15, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 15: Tre Boston #33 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts to a play against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 15, 2017 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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(Photo by MIKE NELSON / AFP) – LA Chargers
(Photo by MIKE NELSON / AFP) – LA Chargers

1. Eric Metcalf (1997)

Eric Metcalf was an NFL running back that never found his footing as an elite back after being selected in the first round of the 1989 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. However, what Metcalf did do is carve out a career as one of the best punt returners in NFL history.

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Metcalf is second all-time in punt return touchdowns, trailing only Devin Hester, who is widely agreed to be the best return man, both in punts and kickoffs, in NFL history. In his long career as a special teams returner, Metcalf’s best year was undoubtedly his one season with the Chargers.

Metcalf spent six seasons in Cleveland, where he was a Pro Bowler twice and an All-Pro once, spent two years in Atlanta and then spent his lone season in San Diego.

Metcalf was a Pro Bowler and an All-Pro in his lone season with the Chargers. Metcalf posted a career-high three punt return touchdowns that season and averaged 10.9 yards per punt return.

He was more than just a special teams return threat, though, as he was a weapon in the passing game as well. Metcalf was targeted 77 times that season and made 40 receptions for 576 yards and two touchdowns.

Ironically, Metcalf’s Charger career ended on a huge sour note for something that has nothing to do with him. The Chargers traded Metcalf, Patrick Sapp, the third and 33rd pick in the 1998 NFL Draft and their 1999 first-round pick to move up one spot to draft Ryan Leaf.

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It is a shame that Metcalf had to be included in perhaps the worst trade in franchise history, but his one season with the Bolts was still elite.

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