In 2022, former Chicago Bears All-Pro kickoff and punt returner Devin Hester will be eligible to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Whether or not he’ll get the votes needed to gain entry has been a subject of debate for awhile now, but Hester’s impact on the game remains undeniable.
Hester is the NFL’s all-time leader in return touchdowns (20) and punt returns for touchdowns (14). His primary role was on special teams, although the team did try to capitalize on his play-making abilities by turning him into a wide receiver — which did not work so well. Hester played eight of his 11 seasons with the Bears, and was named an All-Pro three times, while getting voted into the Pro Bowl four times. He also played two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before retiring after the 2016 season, in which he spent time with both the Ravens and Seahawks.
Did Devin Hester’s Chances to Be Inducted Just Increase?
Hester’s lack of overall playing time and lower snap counts are primary knocks against his potential entry into the Hall of Fame, but few argue he is one of the best — if not the best — to ever do it. He was one of six specialists to make the NFL’s All-100 team last year, and his latest honor just may give his Hall of Fame credentials a boost.
This week, Hester was one of four Bears named to the NFL’s All-Decade team. Hester was also named to the All-Decade team from 2000-2010, making him one of just four players to make the list in each of the last two decades. The other three? Tom Brady, punter Shane Lechler and former Bear Julius Peppers.
Devin Hester: I Put Fear in My Opponents
Hester revealed in February why he thinks he should be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“When you look at and you talk about the Hall of Fame, you talk about the Hall of Famers, the players, you not only look at the stats, but you look at what these guys bring to the table, whether it be the best wide receiver, whether it be the most dominant defensive end, all those types of categories fit why those guys are in the Hall of Fame,” Hester told NBC Sports.
“You look at the type of guy I am, and you look at the numbers: most kickoff returns in NFL history. When you look at the side of what type of player was he, one of the most feared guys with the ball in his hands. I feel as though the plays that I made in the NFL, and not only that, but the fear that I put in the opponent, fits the category of a Hall of Famer. Hopefully, one day, if God wills, I’ll be selected.”
Hester has a point when he references the fear he put into his opponents. Every time he touched the ball, fans, media personnel and players alike waited for him to break out. He changed the way opposing team’s coached and approached special teams in his time with the Bears, and in his 11 seasons, he changed the game.
Whether he eventually makes it into the Hall remains to be seen, but his chances just got an additional boost.