On August 3 of this year, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct its newest class of pro football greats. Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Gil Brandt, Tony Gonzalez, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Ed Reed, and Johnny Robinson will all come face-to-face with their bronze bust and join the greatest of the great. As for one of the greatest players to ever play for the Chicago Bears, he’ll have to wait a little longer in order to even be eligible to be enshrined in Canton, OH.
This week, Devin Hester expressed his feelings on his chances of being the next Bear to be selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hester, who played 11 years in the NFL, spoke with Jon Greenberg of The Athletic, and was very confident in saying that he would one day be a part of the hallowed halls.
“Being in the HOF, I have no doubt in my mind I [will] make it,” Hester said. “I know I will. When it’s all said and done, there’s no question I will be a Hall of Famer.”
Looking at his body of work as the greatest returner of all-time, it’s hard to disagree with him. Hester holds the all-time NFL record for total return touchdowns (20), punt returns for touchdowns (14), and is tied for the most total returned touchdowns in a single season (six).
Hester is also known for being the only player to score a touchdown on the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl.
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As a result for his spectacular play, the University of Miami product was voted to the Pro Bowl four times, and was also selected as an All-Pro four times (three First-Team and one Second-Team). Furthermore, Hester was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, and was recently ranked as the 20th greatest Chicago Bear of all-time.
Hester is very satisfied with his place among the greats to have ever played for the Monsters of the Midway. Including Hester, only four of the Bears’ top 20 greatest players are not in the HOF. So it’s safe to say that Hester is in great company, and even safer to say that he deserves serious consideration to be in the HOF.
Special teams players never get much respect, but recently they have been getting the recognition that they rightfully deserve from the HOF selection committee. Kicker Morten Andersen and punter Ray Guy are two special teams specialist that have been inducted into the Hall over the past five years. Maybe this could be the one thing that helps Hester become the 29th player who’s played the majority of his career with the Bears to join the HOF.
Seeing that no one has ever done what Hester has done on the football field as a returner, he should without a doubt get into the Hall. It would be great to see him as a first-ballot HOFer, but seeing that many people are on the fence as whether or not he should be inducted gives that a slim chance of happening. Regardless, Hester has earned the right to confidently say that he deserves to be in the HOF.
Having retired in 2016, Hester will have to wait a little bit longer to be eligible. But once that time comes, there will be a lot of debate of whether or not the Windy City Flyer will be wearing a gold jacket in the future.