Former CFLer Diontae Spencer named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

Photo courtesy: Denver Broncos

After scoring his first career NFL touchdown, Diontae Spencer was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Spencer scored the Broncos’ first touchdown of the game during Denver’s Week 14 win against Carolina. He took a punt back 83 yards after juking a couple tackle attempts, bursting through a seam down the middle and cutting to the left sideline for the finish.

It was the third-longest punt return in the NFL season and tied for the seventh-longest in franchise history. And it was the Broncos’ first punt returned for a touchdown since Week 8 in the 2015 season.

Former CFL all-star Diontae Spencer credits work in Canada for first NFL touchdown

The 28-year-old was Pro Bowl alternate return specialist in 2019. He’s now averaging 17.5 yards per punt return in his second season. He averaged eight yards per punt return and 29.1 yards per kick return in his first NFL season.

The award represents a long journey for Spencer, who originally entered the NFL in 2014. He was waived before the 2014 season and played four seasons in the Canadian Football League, two in Toronto and two for Ottawa, before returning to the NFL. In that time, Spencer was a prolific CFL player. He set a single-game league record with 496 all-purpose yards in 2017 and was a league all-star in 2018.

The last Broncos return specialist who earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honours was Trindon Holliday, who won in 2013 after Week 2 versus the New York Giants and also earned recognition in 2012 following Week 9 against  Cincinnati.