Devin Hester Retires- Is He a Hall of Famer?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 04: Kick returner Devin Hester
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 04: Kick returner Devin Hester /

Devin Hester has announced his retirement, is Canton next?

The greatest return man the NFL has ever seen will not be returning kicks anymore. Devin Hester took to social media today to announce his retirement from the NFL.

Hester was all but retired already. He had not signed on with any team this year and hadn’t made much of an impact the last two seasons spending time with the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks.

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However Hester’s career finished, it doesn’t even matter compared to how it began. From 2006 to 2011 he was like nothing the NFL had ever seen. Hester returned seven punt returns for touchdowns in just his first two seasons. He also had four kick returns for touchdowns during that stretch as well. Hester’s return numbers dropped in 2008 and 2009 when the Bears tried to put his focus on becoming a wide receiver but he recovered in 2010 and 2011 returning to his All-Pro form.

Hester’s return numbers are ungodly, highlighted by the fact that he has 20 career return touchdowns. That’s one better than hall of famer Deion Sanders, who has 19, but remember, Deion also has touchdowns via interceptions that added to his total.

That leaves the question, what’s next for Devin Hester? Will he just be remembered as an amazing highlight reel for his years in Chicago or will he earn football immortality and be enshrined in Canton.

Hester’s resume for Canton is strictly as a return man. Hester never really panned out as a wide receiver but perhaps the expectations were just too high. He did finish with over 3300 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns via that aspect of his game, but obviously those numbers don’t move the needle in Canton.

It comes down to this- Devin Hester is the greatest return man in the history of the sport. But he is a specialist, should specialists be in the hall of fame? The bar should certainly be higher for specialists than every down players, but if kickers and punters are now be enshrined in Canton, why not Hester? He’s the greatest ever at what he did. That’s no different from Ray Guy. If Guy is in Canton because he’s the greatest punter of all time, then certainly Hester should have his day in Canton as well.