Kick returns are generally measured from the point where the receiver gains possession of the ball to the point where the ball is declared dead or is lost by fumble or is kicked back. As a guide, the point at which the return is deemed to commence shall be the furthest downfield possible, for example using the returner’s back foot as that point. If the receiver loses yards on a kick return after gaining possession, such losses will be charged against the kick return yardage.
Note 1: For punt returns where the returner fumbles at the point of the attempted catch, possession is deemed to be at that point. This will be the yard-line to which the length of the kick is determined. Credit the returner with a punt return and a fumble if it is considered flagrant and the coverage team has an opportunity to recover the ball. Otherwise, no fumble is charged if the returner simply picks up the ball right away.
Note 2: For kickoff returns, the return will start at the point at which the player gains firm possession of the ball. That will be the yard-line at which the kickoff yardage and kickoff return will be calculated.