You can debate who the best ever is at almost every position in the National Football League. One exception is wide receiver. It’s hard to argue against Jerry Rice being the greatest wide receiver ever. Another one of those exceptions is return man. Devin Hester is undoubtedly the greatest return man to ever play football and it’s not even close.
At 33 years old, Hester was released by the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday. Hester wants to continue playing, but it’s obvious that he’s on his last legs as he’s only managed two return touchdowns since 2011. It’s very possible that Hester’s career in the NFL is over so let’s celebrate it with about 10 minutes of Devin Hester scoring touchdowns.
Among Devin Hester’s accolades are a NFL record 20 career return touchdowns, a kick return touchdown to open the Super Bowl, and a 108-yard missed field goal return touchdown. As a rookie in 2006, Hester took five back to the house and then one-upped that in his sophomore season with six return touchdowns. The only possible way to stop him was to not kick to him. It was that simple. If you can only watch one return in this video, watch the one at 4:40. It’s absolute insanity.
The question that remains with Hester is “Is he a Hall of Famer?” That question should be answered with a resounding “yes.” Although kick returner/punt returner isn’t an official position, no player has ever been better than everybody else at his position by a wider margin than Devin Hester. Deion Sanders is probably a unanimous #2 as far as return men are concerned and he doesn’t even have half the number of kick/punt return touchdowns as Hester.
When Hester decides to hang them up, he will likely do so as a Chicago Bear in a similar fashion to Charles “Peanut” Tillman. With the rule changes to kick-off returns in the NFL, it is unlikely that we will ever see another Devin Hester.
Thanks for the memories.