Devin Hester thinks he has one foot in the Hall of Fame

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The list of the best returners in NFL history has Devin Hester at or near the top and the Bears veteran thinks that his accomplishments on that front have him closing in on a spot on the list of the best players ever to play professional football.

Hester has returned 12 punts, five kickoffs and a missed field goal for touchdowns over the course of his career, which is the basis of his contention that he has built the foundation for a resume that could land him in the Hall of Fame when his career comes to an end. Kicker Jan Stenerud is the only player in the Hall solely because of his work on special teams, but Hester thinks a big year in 2013 will put him very close to a yellow blazer.

“I have one foot in right now,” Hester said, via Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Tribune. “If I take three or four back this year, it should be considered 80 percent chance of making it. But I am not really worried about it right now. I am really focused on this season. After this season, when all the stats add up, hopefully it won’t be a question.”

Hester’s playing for more than just his football legacy this year, however. He’s headed for free agency after this season and his next contract will come based solely on his work as a returner since the Bears will no longer be trying to turn Hester into a wide receiver. Hester said he’d like to retire as a Bear and “create enough esteem that there is no stress” about re-signing him at the end of the season.

There isn’t much history of kick returners remaining potent threats into their 30s, but, then, there haven’t been many kick returners like Hester. If Hester bucks that history, neither a new contract in Chicago nor putting a second foot in the Hall of Fame will be totally outlandish goals.

67 responses to “Devin Hester thinks he has one foot in the Hall of Fame

  1. You know whats common about the guys in the Hall of Fame? They never once said to the media “I’m going into the Hall of Fame”. Hester does 1 thing good and thats all. If he was at least serviceable as a WR MAYBE he could get in, but he’s not even that.

  2. I’m not a Bears fan, but he’s got my vote. Definitely one of the best special teamers of all time. Pulling for Ray Guy too (I think he’s a safe bet this year).

  3. All I know is that when I watch his TD returns, when he explodes through that hole and is gone, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anyone have that much explosion.

    I sincerely hope for Hester that he still has that. What a fun year it will be for Bears fans and NFL fans alike this year if he does!

  4. 18 whole touchdowns? Put him in, first ballot.

    I’m not old enough to know, but from what I’ve read Ray Guy did more as a P, pinning the opposing offense back than Hester has in taking it to the house.

    You also can question if since he is such a weapon the Bears spent more time gameplanning formations for returns than they normally would have with a run of the mill KR/PR. And in turn another quick guy could’ve had similiar results.

    That being said, I do remember a few times where Hester just embarrassed cats on his way to paydirt.

  5. Deserving to be in the Hall of Fame, and being in the Hall of Fame are two very different things.

    I don’t think Hester will ever make it, but he should. He is the best ever at doing what he does, and in doing what he does he has helped a good team win a lot of games.

    But the Hall of Fame process is a joke, so I don’t ever see him making it, unfortunately.

  6. Hester is certainly one of, if not the best, kick returners of all time.. but is kick returning alone enough to get you into the HoF? Not in my mind.

  7. Love it. Now time to lock up Dez. Bruce Carter’s ext can wait until next off season.

  8. As a bears Fan I hope he has a huge year, but even if he runs 10 back, that might move him up to a 25% chance of making the hall. His problem right now is that while some voters think he’s already HOF worthy, for others there is nothing he can do to become worthy short of excelling at another position.

  9. If he makes the HOF that will just indicate that the standards for entry have been lowered considerably.

    Wanna impress us Devin? Go become even a WR3. Yes, he’s fun to watch and a threat to kickers everywhere but not HOF caliber.

  10. If Steve Tasker and Ray Guy are not in the hall of fame, then I find it very hard to believe that Hester can get in the Hall. It has nothing to do with his ability or record setting performances either, it has to do with the bias that exists against special teamers by the hall voters. They invented a Pro Bowl position so Steve Tasker could go to the Pro Bowl because he was so dominant. Ray Guy has a college award named after him and both of those guys are not in the hall. Hester simply can’t get in because of bias. It is sad really when you think about it.

  11. Dear Mr. Hester,

    Get in Line.

    Steve Tasker


    Lets see here

    Hester: Receiving stats 2807 yards 14 tds. Punt and KO Return stats: 7053 yards 18 tds.

    Tasker: Recieving stats: 779 yards 9 tds. Punt KO return stats: 1245 yds and zero TDs

    Back of the line Tasker!

  12. Wow, don’t be so hard on him……

    He was clearly referring to the “one trick pony hall of fame.”

  13. There have been a bunch of Devin Hester’s before he came. The difference is that all those that preceded him actually developed other skills and were moved off of kickoff/punt duties to avoid injuries. Hester has managed to suck so bad at everything else that he’s been stuck at the returner position.

  14. He is the greatest return man in professional football history. I think that deserves a spot in the Hall. Do I think he’ll get it though? Not a chance.

  15. Hester is a record setter and a game changer. He’s a threat on every kick, punt or long field goal for running it back. Tasker was decent, but he couldn’t hold Hester’s yellow jacket while he’s giving his acceptance speech. Tasker isn’t in Hester’s league.

  16. Now, with cris carter in the Hall of Fame, the standards are so low, the Hall should just induct each year’s top performers from EA’s Madden NFL video game whether the player is active, retired, a rookie, whatever.

  17. Hester was good but clearly the Chicago STs as a whole had something to do with it too since others on his team eg Daniel Manning and Johnny Knox did really well too

    If any kick returner deserves to be in the HoF it’s Dante Hall ..this guy was one of the most electric and exciting return men EVER. Hester had great straight line speed and burst but Dante Hall was the human joy stick

  18. Devin is clearly one of the best kick returners in the game, but HOF talk should not be on the board as of now. More returns and winning should be his only concern. When you retire then worry about the HOF.

  19. What’s the goal of football? Field position. It’s the offense job to gain it and the defense job to lessen it. That’s it. That’s the game. What results from this struggle is points and wins and losses.

    Very few players in the history of football has effected field position more than Devin Hester. It’s not just about the TDs, it’s about every punter and Kicker being trained on how NOT to kick to him. It’s about coaches deciding that they’d rather give the Bears offense the best starting field position in the league over the span of Hester’s career because they’re scared of Devin.

    He broke the return record while blowing off two years trying to be made a #1 WR. He even scored a TD at the highest level… The Superbowl. Devin Hester is one of the most feared players in NFL history, has affected more games than many players in the HOF, and is the best player at his position ever. By that definition he’s a HOFer.

  20. He’s the best ever at his position, operated at an elite level for several years and made teams game plan for him.

    If that’s not HOF, I don’t know what is. I’m a Lions fan, I hate the Bears, and I think Hester is a first ballot HOF, easily.

  21. Teams have been afraid to kick it to Hester. That’s the truth but not the entire truth, it should be: Teams were more comfortable giving up >10 yards of field position each kick to the Bears struggling offense (pick any year and this is true) instead of giving Hester a quality return chance.

  22. mtexang said:

    Lets see here

    Hester: Receiving stats 2807 yards 14 tds. Punt and KO Return stats: 7053 yards 18 tds.

    Tasker: Recieving stats: 779 yards 9 tds. Punt KO return stats: 1245 yds and zero TDs

    Back of the line Tasker!


    Yeah, except that Tasker was best known for his play as a gunner, not a return man or receiver.

  23. Devin Hester——–YOU ARE RIDICULOUS….

    in every sense of the word/statement.

    Reality is—–you are the greatest returner ever and you do have ONE foot in the HOF..

    problem is it takes two feet in to get in.

    and the last fact is, you have ONE foot in.
    and that’s how it will remain.

    I would like to see Hester SUCK this year, and then have the Colts sign him next year.

    Because Devin Hester at 80 years old is better than ANY return man the colts have EVER had.


  24. I can’t deny that he has 1foot in already. That tells me he is halfway there. I think he should get in if he can double what he has already accomplished. Don’t know how he could possibly do that though.

  25. Does he deserve to get in? In a heartbeat. Will he? Probably not, and that’s even if he absolutely rocks this year.

  26. Even though I am a Bears fan the answer is no. As far as 18 great plays let’s say this SB TD, missed FG return against the Giants, some great returns that didn’t result in TDs. Most importantly lots of field position because opposing coaches were afraid to kick to him. So while he doesn’t belong in the HOF his career amounts to more than 18 great plays.

  27. Tell that to Steve Tasker who’s arguably the greatest special teams player of all time and isn’t in the hall of fame.

  28. There’s guys like Jerry Kramer not in the hall …
    There’s a ton of other guys (Simeon Rice perhaps?) – a lot of talented guys that aren’t in the hall of fame yet.

    If this friggin’ 1 trick pony gimmick return specialist and that friggin’ kicker for the patriots make the hall of fame before guys that played more than 4 snaps a game, then … ugh! smh.

  29. aaroncurryisbust —

    Leon Washington has 8 return TDs in his career on 412 chances.

    Hester has 17 regular season returns on 416 chances. Or in other words, Hester is twice as valuable as Leon Washington.

    He also added the 108-yd miss FG return, and a TD return in the Super Bowl.

    Devin Hester changed games. Leon Washington didn’t. Those who posted Steve Tasker….(threw up in my mouth). Nice special teams tackler, who never changed a single game he played in…..ever. Look at some numbers.

  30. Hester broke the all time return record before he was 30 years old, and now he is saying that if he gets 3-4 this year he has an 80% chance to get into the hall. That isn’t all that unreasonable, since with that many returns added he will have not just broken, but crushed the old record. Nobody has ever been as dangerous as Hester as a return man, he is one of a kind. There were a few years where teams would have prefer to boot a kickoff out of bounds than to kick it to him.

    I don’t think that he is a lock to get in or anything, but giving himself an 80% chance after what would be another historically good season isn’t at all out of line. So what if he is only really good at once thing? Was Earl Campbell good at anything other than running like a truck possessed by an angry demon? Was Steve Largent good at anything other than catching the ball? There are tons of guys in the hall that were really, really good at one thing. None of them were kick returners, but no other pure return man has Hester’s resume.

  31. 24mountaincreeks says:
    Aug 22, 2013 9:39 AM

    How many players are in the Hall for making 18 great plays in their career?
    That’s a great point. I’ve literally watched every game he’s played as a professional. And even though i think he’ll probably eventually get in, i could never think of him as one of the best football players ever, not even close. Don’t get me wrong, at one point he was returning punts and kickoffs for td’s at an insane rate, but he had great blocking, an excellent special teams coach, and let’s face it, he’s an absolute burner. If he see’s open field, it’s over. But besides blazing speed, he can’t catch, can’t tackle, can’t cover, can’t learn the playbook, and he’s dumb as a box of rocks.

  32. While I don’t think he belongs in the Hall of Fame, he would have had several more touchdowns had Lovie Smith left him exclusively a kick returner. It wasn’t broke….. Why fix it?

    Also, people that call him a “one trick pony”. With that logic most guys won’t make the HOF. The league is full of players that play only in certain situations….. Play on 3rd down. Long yardage. Short yardage. Nickel package.

  33. You people must all know what it takes to be in the hall of fame. I missed it which one of you are on the board ohhh that’s right none of you. By time is done most return yards ever most tds do you have any idea how many games he has won just by field starting position. Any one who is a game changer on a regular basis should be in.

  34. All I know is he is the greatest at what he does and a game changer when he is on. Teams have to plan and adjust for him (especially before the kickoff line was moved). Whether that’s enough to make it, I dont know. Either way, he has been one of the most exciting players to watch over the past 8 years and the numbers say he is the greatest returner of all time.

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