Two former Chicago Bears voted as Hall of Fame semifinalists
By Peter Jurich
Devin Hester makes second Hall of Fame semifinalist appearance
First on the list is punt/kick return legend Devin Hester. Hester spent eight years with the Bears from 2006 – 2013 and was one of the most electric players at any position in the league during his tenure in Chicago. The Bears selected Hester with the 57th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft from the University of Miami. Initially a cornerback, Hester’s real value was as a returner, which became very apparent league-wide in his rookie season.
As a rookie, Devin Hester recorded six return touchdowns in the regular season, which not only set a single-season record but also propelled Hester to the Pro Bowl, as well as being named the Special Teams Player of the year and a First Team All-Pro as a returner. In the Super Bowl following his rookie season, Hester returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts, becoming the faster player ever to score in a Super Bowl.
In his remaining time as a Chicago Bear, Devin Hester added 13 return touchdowns and developed into a wide receiver, contributing over 2900 total offense yards and 13 offensive touchdowns in six seasons. As one of the fastest, quickest, and most athletic members of the Bears’ team, let alone the offense, Hester was truly a threat to take any touch, on offense or special teams, to the house.
As a Chicago Bear alone, Devin Hester was nominated to four All-Pro selections (three of which were First Team), three Pro Bowl selections as a returner, three Special Teams Players of the Year, and both the 2000s and 2010s All-Decade NFL teams.
From 2014 – 2016, Devin Hester was also a member of the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, and Seattle Seahawks. After adding one punt return touchdown and two receiving touchdowns, Hester finished his career with 20 total return touchdowns and 14 punt return touchdowns, both of which are still NFL records. He also holds the record for total return touchdowns in a season with six, which he set in 2006 and 2007.
As undoubtedly the best overall returner in NFL history, Devin Hester certainly deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame. Hester’s records and recognitions throughout his career show that he is not only the best returner of his generation over guys like Josh Cribbs and Dante Hall, but the best of all time, even better than all-time great Deion Sanders, although there is no argument that Primetime is the better cornerback.