Talk of Fame Network
Nobody in NFL history has more touchdowns by punt returns (14) than Atlanta’s Devin Hester, and nobody in league history has more scores (20) by kickoff and punt returns combined. But is that enough to put him to Canton? Former teammate Matt Forte thinks it is, with the Bears’ running back calling Hester “Hall-of-Fame worthy.”
There’s only one problem with that: The Hall is reluctant to induct special-teams specialists, with only two among its 287 inductees. So while Hester is extraordinary, the question is: Is he such a marvelous returner that you could see him bucking the odds and winding up in Canton one day?
“To be honest, I do,” Hester said on the latest Talk of Fame Network radio program, a show that centers on the game’s best specialists. “Every person has a position in the NFL. Every player has a position they’re good at. The Hall of Fame should be (for) the guys that are the best at whatever position there is in the game of football. Whoever’s the best should be in the Hall of Fame. If you’re the best kickoff and punt return in the NFL history you should be in the Hall of Fame. That’s the way the Hall of Fame should be known as. Whatever position, they pick the best one.”
Hester is a former defensive back who grew up idolizing Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, but he was converted to a wide receiver when he was with the Chicago Bears and hasn’t moved. In fact, he played wide receiver in Atlanta’s 27-20 loss to Pittsburgh and scored the Falcons’ last TD. As someone who’s played offense, defense and returned kicks, Hester is an authority on violent hits – and he surprised the Talk of Fame Network by saying the worst are not on kickoff returns.
“I don’t think that’s the most violent play,” he said. “I took more violent hits on the offensive side of the ball than kickoff returns. I’ve taken harder hits going across the middle, going for a ball with the safety just licking his chops. For me, to play receiver and kickoff and punt returner, I think receiver takes the most deadly hits.”