He likely would've had a good look at the league honor after he took the opening kickoff of Buffalo's Week 18 win over New England back for a 96-yard touchdown. But when he took a third quarter return back for a 101-yard score Nyheim Hines was a shoo-in for AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Bills' return man became the first player since Leon Washington (Week 3, 2010) to post two kickoff-return touchdowns in the same game.
Hines' two kick returns for touchdowns last Sunday made him just the 11th player in league history to return a pair of kickoffs for scores in the same game. He also set a team record with 235 kickoff return yards, surpassing Charlie Rogers.
Added to the roster at the trade deadline in a deal with the Indianapolis Colts, Hines had believed the return unit was close to busting a big run back.
"All year I felt like, our kick return and punt return, I feel like we've been close," he said. "I feel I've been hitting it hard. Just been a step or two there, there have been a couple times I've slipped and fell on my guys, but even in the meetings, it's been hashtag free Hines. Ever since I got here, this transition has not been the easiest, but those guys out there blocking for me on kick return and punt return have had my back. And I know there are 10 guys out there who believe in me. So I think this kick return was long overdue and I feel like all the guys out there would say the same."
Hines' Buffalo teammates have been quick to appreciate his commitment to the return game where the Bills finished the season sixth in the league in kick return average.
"Nyheim's a guy that works extremely hard at fielding the ball and just working on making the first cut and getting vertical," said Tre'Davious White. "Every day after practice, he stays out with coach (Matthew) Smiley, the special teams coach. Like for 45 minutes to an hour. I mean, this guy is really dedicated to his craft. So seeing him break the runs he broke it wasn't a surprise because the guy works at it extremely hard."
Hines, who had two punt returns for touchdowns in Week 16 of the 2019 season with Indianapolis, is the first player in league annals to have a game with two kickoff-return touchdowns and a game with two punt return touchdowns in his career.