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Dennis LaMont Northcutt (born December 22, 1977 in Los Angeles, Californiamarker) is an American football wide receiver and punt returner who plays for the Detroit Lions.

High school years

Northcutt attended Washington High School in Los Angeles, then transferred to Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, California, and was a student and a letterman in football and track. In football, as a senior, he was named the City Player of the Year, and made 74 rushing attempts for 900 yards (12.16 yards per rushing attempt avg.) and 23 touchdowns. Dennis Northcutt graduated from Dorsey High School in 1996 with a 3.3 grade point average.

College career

Recruited by the University of Arizonamarker, he earned recognition as one of the best receivers and returners in Wildcats history. He played in Tucsonmarker from 1996-99, catching 223 passes for 3,252 yards. Only two other Pac-10 players have had more receptions and receiving yards in their careers. Northcutt also caught passes in 43 straight games, a conference record. In his senior year, he set an Arizona records with 88 receptions for 1,422 yards. His punt-return average that year of 19 yards per return was second in the nation.

Pro career

The Cleveland Browns chose Northcutt in the second round of the 2000 NFL Draft. After a good rookie season and an injury-plagued second one, he established himself as one of the team's most important weapons in 2002. He led the team that year with eight touchdowns, including two on punt returns, and finished third in the league with a 14.7 yard punt return average. Unfortunately for him, his strong play during the 2002 season was overshadowed by a critical drop against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a playoff game. As a result of this drop, he was given the nickname "Dropcutt" by fans, and throughout the rest of his stint in Cleveland, he was unable to shed the reputation created by the drop.

In 2003, Northcutt led the Browns with 62 receptions, and in 2004, he led the Browns with 55 receptions. Northcutt left the Browns as the 10th best receiver in Browns history with 276 catches for 3,438 yards and 9 touchdowns. He was a good punt returner for the Browns, finishing his stint there with 202 returns for 2,149 yards. Three of his returns went for touchdowns, though seven were called back due to penalties. He holds the record for most punt return yardage in Browns history.

On March 4, 2007, Northcutt signed a five-year, $17 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent. Signing with a different team gave him the opportunity to start out fresh. He quickly rose to the top of the WR depth chart in his first season with the team. During his first year on the team, he placed second on the team in both receptions and yards receiving, and finished tied for second on the team in touchdown receptions. He also served as an occasional punt returner during the season. In a playoff game against the New England Patriots that same year, Northcutt dropped a pass on a critical play in the game in which he plausibly could have caught the ball.

On June 26, 2009, he was traded to the Detroit Lions in exchange for Safety Gerald Alexander. In Detroit, Northcutt has gained a reputation for being one of the team's toughest players and most vocal leaders in the locker room.

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