In American football, a gunner, also known as a shooter or kamikaze, is a player on kickoffs and punts who specializes in running down the sideline very quickly in an attempt to tackle the kick returner or the punt returner. Gunners must have several techniques in order to break away or "shed" blockers, and have good agility in order to change their running direction quickly. Gunners on the punt team also must be able to block or catch.
Gunners typically also play positions as defensive backs, cornerbacks, wide receivers, or running back when not on special teams, often as backups.
Gunner may also refer to the one or two players assigned to block the gunner of the punting team.
The NFL Pro Bowl features a "Special Teamer" position, along with a kicker, punter, and kick returner. This is often the gunner considered to be among the best. Recent Pro Bowlers include Matthew Slater, Kassim Osgood, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Hanik Milligan, Larry Izzo, David Tyree, Montell Owens, Jonathan Casillas, Stefan Logan, Anthony Madison and Sean Morey. Steve Tasker, a 7-time Pro Bowler, is considered to be the top gunner in NFL history.
On punts there will be two offensive players on the punting team