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Hester hopes the Hall of Fame door is open to special teamers

devinhester AP

Devin Hester watched with interest as punter Ray Guy was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hester liked seeing someone get a bust in Canton for contributions on special teams because Hester is hoping to join Guy in the Hall some day.

“When you talk about the Hall of Fame, you really don’t talk about special teams,” Hester told the Chicago Sun-Times. “You talk running back, linebacker, receiver, quarterback kind of guys. The first time a special-teams guy made the Hall of Fame — he just opened up the window for everyone else.”

Guy wasn’t actually the first special teams guy to make the Hall of Fame (that would be kicker Jan Stenerud), but Hester said he thinks Guy’s induction may have been a positive sign for Hester’s own chances. And Hester believes he has nothing left to prove and has already earned a spot in the Hall of Fame.

‘‘I pretty much have all the return records,’’ he said.

Hester owns the all-time NFL records for combined special teams touchdowns in a career, combined kick return touchdowns in a season and punt return touchdowns for both a season and a career. Is that enough to get Hester in the Hall of Fame? He thinks so. But if the voters are as skeptical about Hester as they were about Guy, Hester will have to wait until he’s an old man to enjoy his Hall of Fame induction.

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87 Responses to “Hester hopes the Hall of Fame door is open to special teamers”
  1. nyyjetsknicks says: Aug 11, 2014 11:14 AM

    Clearly not a first ballot guy but I think he should get in at some point.

  2. jdbaker01 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:18 AM

    He’s no Ray Guy

  3. jojopuppyfish says: Aug 11, 2014 11:19 AM

    When you talk about players that literally change the game, Hester definitely should be in the HOF.
    Count how many times he had 20 + yards on a punt return and I believe he had no peers.
    Other teams are so afraid of him they kick it out of bounds.
    The only person who really stopped hester was Goodell by moving up the kickoffs.

  4. floratiotime says: Aug 11, 2014 11:20 AM

    Why not. They let a kicker in. Ball boys and groundskeepers will be next.

  5. jxt2521 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:21 AM

    He’s going to be hurt by anyone who argues against him using the performance of the other returners in Chicago during that time. They broke off big returns and got TDs too. Ultimately, wanting to get paid led to the WR experiment and his average ST play during that time.

  6. justsomerandomguy24 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:23 AM

    My initial instinct was to think he shouldn’t make it, but when you read all of those records, it is pretty clear that he is the best all-time at an important–and underappreciated– aspect of the game… That should certainly count for something.

  7. lnfinite says: Aug 11, 2014 11:24 AM

    He will get in(no doubter)..

  8. Steeler Nation is so far above you and your lowly franchise. We built this league. Pittsburgh's three rivers are made from the tears of our opponents. Bow to your supreme overlords. says: Aug 11, 2014 11:24 AM

    Ask Steve Tasker.

  9. redandgoldhitman52 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:27 AM

    which team jersey is he wearing in that pic??

  10. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Aug 11, 2014 11:27 AM

    Nope. Not a chance. If they didn’t try to make him a WR and have his returns suffer, maybe. But he just wasn’t good enough for long enough at only returning punts.

  11. len462 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:28 AM

    Since it’s not that hard to get into the NFL HOF I’d say he’s earned it.

  12. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Aug 11, 2014 11:28 AM

    Steeler fan thinking they built this league. LOL Lombardi and the Packers would laugh at you. 13>6 and Super Bowl XLV!! Sorry.

  13. revelation123 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:29 AM

    Even if it was he wouldn’t make it.

  14. swede700 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:30 AM

    I have difficulty in putting in a guy who is elite at returning kicks and punts, but contributes virtually nothing at his actual position of wide receiver. It’s the reason why guys like Brian Mitchell and Desmond Howard aren’t in. They were elite returners too, but contributed little at their actual position.

    If I were to put a returner in, he’d have to contribute a little more on offense or defense to put him over the top. Kind of like Eric Metcalf, who actually had a 1000 yd receiving season.

  15. Zac F. says: Aug 11, 2014 11:32 AM

    I’m indifferent on this. Hester was a great return-guy, but is that enough to be in the Hall of Fame?

    Part of me says “Of course, Hester changed the way teams looked at kick/punt returners.”

    The other part of me says “The guy has scored 32 touchdowns in his career and turned out to be below-average in any other facet of the game.”

    I’d be open to him getting into the Hall of Fame, but I think a great case could be made that his inability to make an impact on offense or defense could make his HOF contention a steep uphill battle.

  16. 700levelvet says: Aug 11, 2014 11:33 AM

    Tim brown… Kevin Greene.. Charles Haley.. To name a few. Not in the hall but he thinks he should be…. Please

  17. nowillrepeat says: Aug 11, 2014 11:34 AM

    Absolutely not.

    You dont get to the HOF for 3-4 good years. You get it for 10 plus dominant years.

    He didnt “change” the game, if anything, there has been a devaluation of the return game since his arrival.

    Good player, but nothing close to HOF.

  18. amishninjas says: Aug 11, 2014 11:34 AM

    Uhhhh that would be a Falcons jersey. You know the team he plays for.

  19. bubbybrisket says: Aug 11, 2014 11:34 AM

    If they’re letting punters and kickers in, I think they’d allow Hester in as well.

  20. deweyaxewound says: Aug 11, 2014 11:34 AM

    Lovie Smith and Jerry Angelo ruined Devin Hester, the greatest PR/KR in the history of the game – proverbially-speaking, they killed the Golden Goose.

    And they did it by indulging Hester in his own egotistical need/greed to want to play as #1 or 2 WR, which he should’ve never been (at most, he would’ve been okay in the slot).

    If the Bears had some real leadership/coaching at the time, they would’ve denied Hester his ambitions to be a wide-out, and kept him strictly (or almost strictly) in the role of returner, where he belongs.

    It’s no coincidence that once Hester started lining up at WR, his impact in the return game declined dramatically. And while I admit it’s speculative on my part, I believe Hester likely would’ve surpassed the records long ago had he never lost his focus and tried to convert himself to WR.

    The Bears coaches and GM at the time hold a lot of blame for wrongly indulging him and allowing him to lose focus. You can’t pound a square peg into a round hole. What’s worse – you had the BEST square peg ever, and you ruined it.

  21. icanspeel says: Aug 11, 2014 11:35 AM

    I saw too soon to tell.. If he can put up some more solid numbers for a few more years it will help his case.

  22. jxt2521 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:36 AM

    He defiantly had the talent but he didn’t do it long enough because of the WR experiment.

  23. Stiller43 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:39 AM

    yeah he was real good for what, 3-6 plays a season?

    Great at what he did (perhaps best of all time), but it’s not a huge enough part of the game.

    PASS.

  24. britishteeth says: Aug 11, 2014 11:39 AM

    I think he makes the hall as a WR.

  25. pfu2 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:41 AM

    Josh Cribbs was more deserving

  26. coachkilla6 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:41 AM

    Less than 20 good plays in a career versus the likes of Minnesota and Detroit? Gimme a break. No way he’s HOF material. No way.

  27. alshonsmeathooks says: Aug 11, 2014 11:45 AM

    GOAT by a big margin

  28. kd75 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:47 AM

    Sorry. You will just have to buy a ticket to get into the Hall like the rest of us.

  29. slick50ks says: Aug 11, 2014 11:48 AM

    After having Dave Toub as special teams coach on the Chiefs, I’m thoroughly convinced that Hester is absolutely nothing special. Toub can make everyone look like a damn good returner. Dexter McCluster is a prime example. The dude is slow as molasses and yet made the pro bowl as a returner. Should he be a HOFer too? Hester owes Dave a debt of gratitude for making him money. Lord knows he can’t catch a pass, or run a route.

  30. 1rockyracoon says: Aug 11, 2014 11:55 AM

    A player’s work as a returner should add to their resume when deciding HoF status; it should not be the most important part. He is a mediocre receiver, therefore, he is not a HoF player.

  31. honolulublue says: Aug 11, 2014 11:56 AM

    Mel Gray should be in the hall.

  32. deacon85 says: Aug 11, 2014 11:59 AM

    I don’t know if Hester should make it, but special teamers should definitely be considered. Some players get assigned to special teams only, because that’s where they excel (e.g., Matthew Slater), and if a player is one of the best at that position for a long time, then that player should be considered for the Hall of Fame. Especially if you’re a “core 4″ special teamer (punts and returns, kickoffs and returns), then you’re in for numerous plays every game, and plays that often make the difference in the outcome of the game. If you’re good enough on special teams to be worthy of the Hall of Fame, then you’re worthy of the Hall of Fame.

  33. maxbelmont says: Aug 11, 2014 12:00 PM

    Hester has a point. Much like what the HOF has done with creating a category for contributors, the HOF should create a spot just for players that played special teams. Look at Hester’s former teammate Patrick Mannelly who played 16 years as a long snapper and was one of the most valuable pieces to the Bears special teams.

  34. deafcone says: Aug 11, 2014 12:02 PM

    Soon ball boys will get inducted!

  35. bucrightoff says: Aug 11, 2014 12:02 PM

    He certainly belongs in the Hall of Very Good. But if he’s a HOFer so are Dante Hall and Brian Mitchell, and I doubt anyone is making the case for them.

  36. joetoronto says: Aug 11, 2014 12:05 PM

    Why not, Andre Reed made it in.

    SMH

  37. politicallyincorrect says: Aug 11, 2014 12:05 PM

    tough call on ST guys like Hester or Tasker; both dominant and played important roles but…… guess it depends on overall impact on games and these guys do not play many snaps…

    I was a RGuy supporter; best ever at what he did and changed the game…

    not sure how you compare guys like Hester and Tasker to some of the great position players that may be borderline

  38. buffalohogan says: Aug 11, 2014 12:12 PM

    I believe special teamers should be in the HOF, because they dominated at their phase of the game. As for Hester, he needs to get in line behind others that have come before him, including:

    Steve Tasker
    Brian Mitchel
    Mel Gray
    Dave Meggett
    Billy White Shoes Johnson
    Desmond Howard
    Eric Metcalf

  39. bassplucker says: Aug 11, 2014 12:19 PM

    I hope he makes it. His production his last couple of years in Chicago tailed off badly, and it was time for him to go, but he still deserves to get in.

    In fact, given the bias of HOF voters against adding any more Bears, his best chance may be to go in as a Falcon.

  40. nflinsider711 says: Aug 11, 2014 12:20 PM

    Brian Mitchell should be in the HOF already.

  41. johnnylujack says: Aug 11, 2014 12:21 PM

    Maybe so, but I’d vote Pat Mannelly in before Hester. Reliability (best ever at a critical position), durability (one significant injury in 16 seasons), longevity (192 games, a Bears team record) …. Pat is off the charts.

  42. jimmy53 says: Aug 11, 2014 12:21 PM

    no, no, and no. He couldn’t even feasibly learn one position….

  43. voiceofrealism says: Aug 11, 2014 12:28 PM

    Yeah, and I’m hoping the HOF is open to special fans, as well. I think we will both be disappointed.

  44. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Aug 11, 2014 12:44 PM

    No Chicago Bear who has played on the team in the last 20 years has any business being in the HOF. Including the overrated Urlacher.

  45. mikebrownbears30 says: Aug 11, 2014 12:55 PM

    Dave Toub is the best special teams coach in the NFL, and Dave Toub was his coach for all of Hester’s years except last season, whe performance was down for Hester. Let’s see the body of work when the career is over.

  46. suns11111 says: Aug 11, 2014 12:55 PM

    Chris Kluwe made him a potential HOF.

  47. tokyofilthblaster says: Aug 11, 2014 12:56 PM

    Bear fans assured me that Hester was much more than just a special teamer.

  48. boogerhut says: Aug 11, 2014 12:56 PM

    Terell Davis was a BEAST. For a couple of years. Just like Hester. Still not HOF. And to the fool earlier, “so easy to get into the HOF…”….REALLY? What planet do you call home?

  49. SeenThisB4 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:02 PM

    When I think of Special Teamers for the Hall of Fame, I think of Special Teamers, i.e., Kickers, Punters, Holders, Long Snappers. I don’t think of WRs who are returning kicks or punts. You should get into the Hall of Fame for what you are. Otherwise, players like Jimmy Graham will want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Wide Receiver rather than what he is, a Tight End.

  50. fwippel says: Aug 11, 2014 1:07 PM

    Maybe it’s just me, but when did it become acceptable for players to start petitioning for their own spot in the Hall of Fame?

    Players state their case with their play on the field, and that’s how it should be. But to start campaigning for a spot after (or even during) your career seems more than a bit too much in the self-promotion department.

    Hester may eventually get in as a special teams player, but it should be because of the scope of his work as a player, not because of a public campaign to drum up support.

    The example of Paul Krause should be noted by Hester and others who believe they have been or may be snubbed. Krause retired in 1979 as the NFL’s all time leading pass interceptor, with 81, a record that still stands today, and may never be broken.

    Was Krause a first-ballot Hall of Famer? No. In fact, he had to wait until his 14th year of eligibility to be inducted. Yet he never started a campaign for induction, and his acceptance speech showed no bitterness at the long wait. He handled the entire situation with class. It’d be nice to see more of that.

  51. mogogo1 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:18 PM

    I’d put him in, but only after Steve Tasker. Special teams is under-represented. And there’s a real risk of that getting worse as all the wide receivers and QBs with big numbers from the current era start becoming eligible. Not sure how they’ll sort that all out, but this current pass-happy era is producing a lot of guys who will have amazing numbers compared to past guys who made it who will actually be inferior players.

  52. miamatt says: Aug 11, 2014 1:24 PM

    Hester is the rare special teams guy who deserves to get in. He impacted the outcome of so many games, not only with his spectacular touchdowns but also his ability to flip field position when he didn’t go all the way.

  53. kwjsb says: Aug 11, 2014 1:28 PM

    Josh Gordon should be on that list, not only for the TD’s and returns, but he was also Steve Tasker on coverage teams, which Hester can’t claim.

  54. ccc23454 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:34 PM

    he would have to go in behind STEVE TASKER who was WAY better than hester

  55. sapp2mccoy says: Aug 11, 2014 1:42 PM

    I’m not trying to take anything away from Hester’s impact. For a while, he changed the way teams game planned for the Bears. I can’t help but thinking about all of the guys who were considered too valuable at their actual positions to be a returner though. You don’t think Randy Moss could have ran back a couple of kicks? How about Adrian Peterson taking 2 back in 16 tries as a rookie? I’m sure the Chiefs and Eagles wish they had a couple more Jamaal Charles’ and LeSean McCoys to give their special teams units a boost. It’s not like the Bears thought Hester was too valuable of a returner to risk him playing another position. He just wasn’t good enough to play anywhere else. He was the best of the expendable, and that’s not my definition of a Hall of Famer.

  56. swede700 says: Aug 11, 2014 1:44 PM

    In addition to my earlier comment, it should also be noted that Hester, for all his accomplishments as a returner, is only #8 all-time in PR yards (behind guys like Mitchell and Meggett, as well as Darrien Gordon) and #22 in KR yards (Cribbs is #3 all-time and Hester’s total is a shade shy of 1/3 of Mitchell’s total). That’s clearly not HOF-worthy…regardless of how many return TDs he has…

  57. madhouseonmadison says: Aug 11, 2014 1:49 PM

    I hope he does make it. Why? Just for the hilarity of listening to him speak at his acceptance speech.

  58. theblackrook says: Aug 11, 2014 1:53 PM

    As a Green Bay Packer fan I must say I hate the Bears but respect the hell out of our rival franchise. If Devin Hester doesn’t get into the hall it would be a travesty of justice. He changed games, he was the most prolific player to do what he could do and his skills helped them to two NFC Championship games and one super bowl. Hester was a once in a life time talent and deserves to be in the Hall cause no one can do what he did as consistently and effectively as he did it.

  59. lotusfather says: Aug 11, 2014 2:18 PM

    Once Don Beebe gets into the hall we can start talking about guys like Hester.

  60. chargrz says: Aug 11, 2014 2:21 PM

    Why not Longsnappers?

  61. nickswearsky says: Aug 11, 2014 2:26 PM

    A couple of returns for TD’s with Atlanta will seal his entrance to the HOF.

  62. terrytateofficelb says: Aug 11, 2014 2:26 PM

    My votes for Vince Papale

  63. reesesteel23 says: Aug 11, 2014 2:38 PM

    When Cordarrelle Patterson breaks your return record within the next 5 to 6 years, it wont matter anyway.

  64. sportnorcal says: Aug 11, 2014 2:40 PM

    Oh please.
    He had 2 good years to start his career, then a few mediocre ones, then he had one decent year after that.

    A couple seasons returning kicks hardly warrants HOF talk.

  65. cdollaz says: Aug 11, 2014 3:12 PM

    I’d put him in tomorrow if it meant that we would never have to hear any more of the “Steve Tasker should get in” nonsense.

  66. axespray says: Aug 11, 2014 3:15 PM

    No… not at the expense of guys that actually play way more than 3 snaps per game.

  67. sumkat says: Aug 11, 2014 3:15 PM

    Electrifying player

    Game changing player

    Not even close to a hall of famer

  68. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Aug 11, 2014 3:22 PM

    When did Corduroy Patterson start returning punts? SKOLOLOLOL Vikings fans amuse me with how little they know about their own team. Hester did most of his damage as a punt returner, not kickoffs.

  69. JackedUpSports says: Aug 11, 2014 3:27 PM

    He opened the Super Bowl on a kick return TD. That plus his record is hall of fame worthy – even if he’s not first or second ballot

  70. rukkus1 says: Aug 11, 2014 3:36 PM

    Mel Grey Sr. is definitely HOF worthy. It’s a shame some of these game changers are on the outside looking in.

  71. jagsfanugh says: Aug 11, 2014 3:36 PM

    If you could name one Great special teams guy it would be Hester IMO.

  72. packfanaj12 says: Aug 11, 2014 3:38 PM

    I don’t think he should be, the guy is a stud on returns no question about that… but a return specialist is not considered a position for a reason… Hester was not a RB, he did not excel at receiver which were the two things he could have been listed as. Jimmy Graham was considered a tight end even though he lined up as a receiver more. You are the position you are listed as, and he was not a HoF receiver.

    IMO

  73. Twin Diesel says: Aug 11, 2014 3:38 PM

    Hell no!!! No disrespect No disrespect.

  74. Brandon in Northwest Suburbia says: Aug 11, 2014 3:42 PM

    You really have to take career return stats with a HUGE grain of salt. Most really great return guys either never do it in the NFL, or they stop as soon as they are valuable at their “regular” positions.

    How many return TDs could Barry Sanders (or many others….) have if he did it for 10 years? Hester had proved inept first as a cornerback and then as a receiver. He had 4 incredible seasons as a returner with the benefit of an excellent overall Special Teams squad and also 4 mediocre seasons as a returner. I don’t think that = HOF.

    If you compare to other prominent returners Eric Metcalf was actually a real contributor on offense as a 3rd down back back and receiver (even has a 100 catch/1000 yard season to his credit) and still an elite returner well into his 30’s. Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson were only p/t returners off and on throughout their careers, but obviously HOF worthy based on cb play alone.

    Hester has been a non-contributor in other aspects of the game – including other aspects of special teams such as kick coverage (as opposed to someone like Steve Tasker).

  75. wnstonchill says: Aug 11, 2014 4:03 PM

    Hester is a LOCK for the HOF! It doesn’t even need to be discussed anymore, it’s done……….

  76. afcdomination says: Aug 11, 2014 4:05 PM

    will be tougher to break that record when they remove kickoffs completely.

  77. Brandon in Northwest Suburbia says: Aug 11, 2014 4:06 PM

    FTR, I’m not opposed to the idea that a player who’s value is largely tied to special teams getting in, but they need to do it longer and contribute in some other fashion imo.

    I just don’t Hester has the resume to justify it….at this point in his career it basically reads “Dante Hall with better blocking”.

  78. bassplucker says: Aug 11, 2014 4:09 PM

    On Lovie Smith’s offense-starved teams, Hester’s returns literally won games for them that they would have otherwise lost. He also kept them in other games that they otherwise would have lost in a blowout.

    So argue all you want about the viability of a returner being in the HOF, but there is really no disputing his immense value to that franchise for all but the last couple of seasons there.

  79. politicallyincorrect says: Aug 11, 2014 4:14 PM

    To the guy mentioning Terrell Davis

    Yes he was a HOF level player, was dominant, and, though injury shortened career, should get in…. same with the better Sharpe, Sterling…. those two, like Sayers, were the best in the game and deserve special consideration IMO

  80. msalvash says: Aug 11, 2014 4:40 PM

    Hester is without a doubt a hall of famer. He changed games in an instant. He is one return from being the all-time return man. There are three that I’ve seen, he returned but negated due to questionable penalties (at least 2 of them). People talk about how he’s not as dangerous as he once was etc etc…I tend to think the haters forget how many times teams have literally kicked away from him..people forget Goodell has taken away the ability of returns in the kicking games because he don’t want a special teamer in the HOF. he wants to rid of any kick offs or returns…so how can yor game be off if they’re kicking away from you? love to see how many times kickers kicked away from him.

    H.O.F. #23 By the way bears don’t have a replacement for him to save their lives…they will regret it.

  81. bassplucker says: Aug 11, 2014 5:00 PM

    One of the few bright spots on Jerry Angelo’s otherwise dismal draft record.

  82. salimthadream20 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:05 PM

    He’s definitely not a 1st ballot HOFer but I’d say he deserves to get in. Hesters not just some great kick/punt returner, he’s the record holder of basically every return record. He may not be good or even average at his regular position but he’s the best Return Man of All Time and that alone gets my vote!

  83. bamacowboy says: Aug 11, 2014 5:11 PM

    Honestly as of yet I dont see him as a Hall of Famer. If he continues to do what he did his first several years in the league no doubt, he will go into the Hall. I think he has peaked. He is great but we are talking Hall of Fame here

  84. slippery1 says: Aug 11, 2014 5:33 PM

    If the measure of a HOF player is longevity and statistics, plus being a game changer, how in the world did Gale Sayers ever get in?

  85. schmokes says: Aug 11, 2014 6:26 PM

    He wasn’t a game changer, he was just another in a long line of good return men including Mel gray, Desmond Howard, Dante hall etc…every couple if years there is another one, since Hester, we’ve had Cribbs, Peterson, Washington, Patterson…if you can’t help your team in other ways, then you should be remembered as a good player, but not HOF worthy.

  86. gofor2with3pointlead says: Aug 11, 2014 7:57 PM

    Here’s the deal, it is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Board of Selectors will most likely receive a nomination for Hester when he becomes eligible, five years after he retires. After the board is polled in March, September and again in October, fifteen finalists will be selected by the committee via mail in ballot in November. If Hester is a finalist, he’ll still need to accrue eighty percent of the committee’s votes, as well as be in the top seven vote-getters, if there are at least eight with eighty percent of the committee’s votes. Depending on your perspective, in any given year, it could be exceedingly difficult to get inducted or it could be a cakewalk. To me, a HOF’er should have a certain je ne sais quoi, something perhaps indefinable, yet again, as Justice Potter Stewart stated in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio, 378 US 184 “I know it when I see it”. I suppose you have to ask yourself, is what he did on the field of play enough to be enshrined in the PFHOF? Past that, it’s all flotsam and jetsam.

  87. realmenwearstripes says: Aug 11, 2014 10:34 PM

    When people teach kick and punt returning from now on, they’ll be showing tape of Hester. Players that change the game belong in the Hall of Fame.

    Is there anyone that can forget his return of a field goal attempt by the Giants? Or his Super Bowl play?

    KR and PR are positions, and Hester is the best there ever was at them.

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