The Bears recognized running back Matt Forte and kick returner Devin Hester at a retirement ceremony on Monday, and Forte made the case that Hester should get a bust in Canton.
Forte said that even though Hester was a punt and kickoff returner and played only sparingly outside special teams, that contribution in the kicking game is enough.
“He changed the game,” Forte said. “I mean, literally, changed the game. If you can affect the game like that, he’s gotta be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The definition of a Hall of Famer is somebody who changed the game — like defenses and coaches had to carve out certain time to assess that particular guy. There’s not going to be another Devin Hester ever, I don’t believe.”
Hester noted the possibility that he could be the last kickoff returner in Canton, as the kickoff may be going away.
“It’s a big part of football, it’s one of the most exciting plays when you’re playing this game of football,” Hester said. “At the end of the day, if I’m the last, if I’m the one to be the best at the return game, it’s an honor. But at the same time, I want to continue to see it play out.”
Hester is a player that today’s generation will tell future generations about — in part because future generations won’t witness kickoff returns.