March 21, 2023

After a fast look on the NFL file books, it will be troublesome to call a return specialist who had a extra profound affect on the sport than former Chicago Bears nice Devin Hester.

In any case, he holds the NFL file for essentially the most profession particular groups touchdowns with 20 — 14 punt returns, 5 kick returns, one blocked area objective — and the single-season data for return touchdowns (six) and punt-return touchdowns (4).

So, it’s no shock that the 39-year-old Hester was taken again by the character of a February cellphone name he had with the president of the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame choice committee.

“They mentioned they have been by no means put ready like this when it got here to the class of the place I performed as a particular groups man and the way they considered me when it got here to this vote,” Hester lately advised the Chicago Tribune. “So, he mentioned, ‘We all know most undoubtedly you’re going to get in.’

“Nevertheless it was simply so arduous for the committee to solidify me as a Corridor of Famer in my first yr of eligibility simply due to the particular groups tag I’ve on my identify. They simply didn’t know the way to current it and didn’t know whether or not I used to be worthy of being categorised as a first-ballot Corridor of Famer. He advised me I used to be for positive going to make the Corridor of Fame finally.”

Hester’s particular groups resume is nearly as good as any.

He was a four-time All-Professional choice, a four-time Professional Bowl choice, a three-time NFL Alumni Particular Groups Participant of the 12 months, and he was named to 2 NFL All-Decade Groups and was one in every of two return specialists named to the NFL’s a hundredth Anniversary All-Time Crew.

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Hester ranks third all-time in punt return yards (3,695) and twelfth all-time in kick return yardage (7,333). His 315 profession punt returns are additionally the fifth-most in NFL historical past, and there are solely seven different gamers with extra mixed profession kick and punt-return yardage than Hester’s 11,028 yards.

“I do know I’m a particular groups man,” Hester continued. “I do know I’m a kickoff and punt returner. However on the finish of the day, do you take a look at me as one of the best to ever do it? Do you contemplate that you just’re passing up one of the best to ever do it at that place? And I’m not knocking another guys. However do you place the twenty seventh finest security within the Corridor of Fame? Do you place the thirty fourth finest operating again within the Corridor of Fame? The Corridor of Fame has to have (a typical) that emphasizes the greatness of all, one of the best of all time. And no matter what place you have been at.”

If the choice committee stays true to its phrase, it shouldn’t be lengthy earlier than Hester transitions from the primary return specialist named a Corridor of Fame finalist to the primary to placed on a gold jacket.