August 6, 2015

Highlighted Year: Darren Bennett, 1995

Punter, San Diego Chargers

Age: 30
2nd season in pro football (1st active) & with Chargers
College: None
Height: 6’5”   Weight: 235

A native of Australia, Bennett spent 12 years as an Australian rules football player, primarily with the West Coast Eagles (Perth) and Melbourne, before retiring in 1993. He arranged a tryout with the Chargers on a trip to the US and spent a year on San Diego’s practice squad in 1994. Bennett spent the Spring of ‘95 with Amsterdam in NFL Europe and averaged 38.9 yards on 59 punts.

1995 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Punts – 72 [14, tied with Jeff Feagles, Mike Horan & Mike Saxon]
Most punts, game – 8 at Philadelphia 9/17, vs. Kansas City 11/12
Yards – 3221 [10]
Average – 44.7 [2]
Best average, game – 59.5 (on 4 punts) at Pittsburgh 10/1
Punts blocked – 0
Longest punt – 66 yards

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Wild Card playoff vs. Indianapolis)
Punts – 2
Yards – 109
Average – 54.5
Punts blocked – 0
Longest punt – 65 yards

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Chargers went 9-7 to finish second in the AFC West and qualify for a Wild Card spot in the postseason. Lost AFC Wild Card playoff to Indianapolis Colts (35-20).

Bennett lasted a total of nine seasons with San Diego, following up with a 45.6-yard average in 1996 and reaching the Pro Bowl for a second time in 2000, a season in which he led the NFL with an average of 46.2 yards. His hang time was outstanding and he improved his consistency and ability to place his kicks over time. A remnant of his years in Australian rules football, he did not shy from physical contact. Bennett also utilized the “drop punt” technique to good effect in situations where placement was more important than distance. With Mike Scifres waiting in the wings, Bennett moved on to Minnesota as a free agent in 2004 and, after initially being waived in the ’05 preseason, finished up his career as a one-game replacement for the injured Chris Kluwe at age 40. Overall, he averaged 43.4 yards on 836 punts, 771 of those punts for a 43.8-yard average coming with the Chargers. Bennett was inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame and named to the All-1990s team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Highlighted Years features players who were first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970