As I watching the Lions – Bears game this past Sunday and as I have watched in past matchups between these two NFC North teams, Whenever the Lions were punting or lining up for a kickoff, I was thinking:“Please do not kick to Devin Hester”. Sure enough, they kicked to him and he did what he does best..he returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown. Which brings up the question could Devin Hester ever make it to the NFL Hall of Fame?
The numbers to support Hester’s hall of fame career really don’t lie, after Sunday’s punt return for a touchdown it puts him at 17 career kick return touchdowns(punt and kickoffs combined). He also has a 108 yard missed field goal return and a post season kickoff return for a touchdown..many of you will remember the latter one…Opening kickoff of Super Bowl Xll vs. the Colts. What were you thinking Tony Dungy? Then again, what are all teams thinking kicking to him?
As for the record books, Hester owns the record for most punts returned for touchdowns and return touchowns combined (punt &kickoff) He has passed the likes of Freddie Mitchell,Josh Cribbs and even his very own Bears alumni Gale Sayers. Most of the players he has passed on the record list have done other notable things on the field other then just play special teams, most notably Gale Sayers. Hester who doubles as a wide receiver on the Bears has put up mediocre numbers at the position, but when it comes to running back kicks, he is the best the league has ever seen. At 29 years old and in good health he will more then likely add to his career stats and distance himself in the record books in the years to come.
So can you make it in to the Hall of Fame as just a special teams player? There is only one kicker in the hall, (Jan Stenerud) and there is no punter there. Hester is a game changer on special teams, and since special teams is one the three main phases of the game of football, why cant he be included with game changers on defense ( Deion Sanders) or offense (Barry Sanders) who are currently in the hall. Only time will tell whether he gets inducted or not, but every time Hester crosses the goal line on his future kick-off and punt returns, it will be hard for the Hall of Fame to ignore his accomplishments.
“Devin Hester, You are ridiculous!”