Retired Devin Hester, on if he deserves Hall of Fame nod: 'Absolutely'

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Hester was the most decorated and unsafe return man in the league for almost a decade, making four Pro Bowls and being named first-team All-Pro three times.

Despite not having a clear role on offense or defense with the Hurricanes, the Chicago Bears felt good enough about his special teams prowess to select him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Nineteen of those TD returns came in eight seasons with the Bears, where he also played wide receiver. He alluded to it in his statement announcing his retirement - "Commissioner Goodell, you can put the kickoff back at the 30" - and while the league said the decision to move kickoffs from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line in 2011 due to player safety concerns, it did have an impact on return scores. Chicago was where he was known as one of the best return men of all time. He made an impact on the game just by standing on the field and being Devin Hester.

Hester (2006-2016): 3,695 punt return yards (3rd), 11.7 yards per punt return (t-8th), 14 punt-return TDs (1st), 7,333 kickoff return yards (11th), 24.9 yards per kickoff return (t-67th), 5 kickoff-return TDs (t-8th), 14,455 all-purpose yards (43rd). He acknowledged the team and said that the city helped shaped who he is today. I'll always remember the noise y'all made whenever I hit the open turf at Soldier (Field) - never heard anything quite like it.

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It would be a travesty if we didn't see Hester in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But Hester also amassed 3,311 yards and 16 touchdowns as a receiver, learning that position on the fly in the National Football League, and his mark on the game as a returner is indelible. Hester forced teams to change the way their special teams assignments were drawn up when they played the Bears, and later the Falcons, Ravens and, for a brief stint, the Seahawks. "You type in the best running back of all time; I'm pretty sure he's in the Hall of Fame". He drew many comparisons to Deion Sanders' return game.


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