Javier Arenas, the dynamic defensive back and kick returner who amazed Tide fans with his explosive and instinctive play making, was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs as the 50th overall selection in the 2010 NFL draft.
Arenas, a native of Tampa, Florida, initially grabbed national attention with his innate abilities to generate highlight reel returns on punts and kickoffs. During his junior season in 2008, Arenas posted an impressive average of 11.8 yards per punt return, including three touchdowns. Arenas also maintained a solid presence on the defensive side of the ball, primarily as a nickel back in coach Nick Saban’s scheme.
During Alabama’s 2009 run to a BCS national championship, opponents began attempting to game plan around Arenas’s returns. Despite those efforts, Arenas still managed to pile up 493 punt return yards and 551 yards on kickoff returns. Arenas finished his career at Alabama only 9 yards short of Wes Welker’s record for career punt return yards and with seven career punts returned for touchdowns, one shy of the all-time record.
Perhaps his greatest contributions during the 2009 season were on the defensive side of the ball. Arenas compiled career high stats, including 70 tackles, 5 sacks and 5 interceptions. He was named as a semi-finalist for the prestigious Jim Thorpe Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. Arenas would eventually lose out to his current teammate with the Kansas City Chiefs, Eric Berry.
Arenas saw action in all 16 of the Chiefs’ regular season games in 2010, recording 43 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble. He was also an integral part of Kansas City’s powerful tandem of rookie returners with Dexter McCluster. Arenas averaged 21.2 yards per kick return and 8.3 yards per punt return.