Trindon Holliday isn't so much in a return slump as he is running between grooves.

"We've been overdue," Holliday said at his locker Friday. "Special teams have been overdue for a big play. Hopefully we get a chance to break one."

After exploding for six touchdown returns in a 13-game stretch for the Broncos from the middle of last season to early this season, Holliday hasn't brought one back in the past 10 games. And so it goes with all of the dominant kick returners who follow a pattern not unlike a baseball home run hitter who strikes out a lot.

The greatest kick returner in NFL history still plays for the Chicago Bears. Yet even Devin Hester compacted 18 of his record 19 touchdown returns in four years — 12 in his first two seasons of 2007 and 2008 and six more from 2010-11.

Before the Hester scoring explosion, Dante Hall arguably was the league's most dominant kick returner. Hall produced nine of his 12 touchdown returns in a three- season period from 2002-04.

"With most guys who dominate, eventually one of two things happen," said Broncos special-teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers. "Either they become such a great player offensively or defensively, they eventually take on that role. Or, if they become less effective and that's the only thing they do, they get phased out."

Deion Sanders was an unstoppable kick returner until it became evident that he could stop a passing game as a shutdown cornerback. The Broncos' Wes Welker was a terrific kick returner for the Miami Dolphins, only to become an even better slot receiver for the New England Patriots.

After Hester's first two electrifying seasons with the Bears, he had a two-year drought as a kick returner from 2009-10 largely because he made 108 receptions in that period.