Brian Batty 3/11/14
You want to learn how to go from kick returner to legend in two simple steps?
Well you start with this…
….and then you do this.
The Bears drafted a cornerback/kick returner/punt returner/receiver (Maybe? Who knew at that point) in the second round of the 2006 Draft, and immediately found themselves with the most dangerous weapon in the NFL in their front pocket.
Hester’s first game he returned a punt for a touchdown, and never looked back. His rookie year he had six, SIX, return touchdowns.
There was the Monday Night game against the Cardinals. My dad had went to sleep based on the “Aghhh screw it, they blew it again” philosophy, (Something he’s gotten very good at over the years) just in time for Hester to return a 4th quarter punt to bring them back in the game
There was the 2 kick return touchdown Rams game, in prime time yet again. The unofficial beginning of “don’t kick to him under any circumstances” era.
There was the 108-yard field goal return that seemed to happen in the most Devin Hester-y way imaginable. He kind of walked a few steps before he shot out of a cannon and his world class speed took over and before the Giants even knew it he was heading up the right sideline with a blockade of Bears leading his way.
Everything about Hester for so many years was magical. He was the best show in sports for an 18 game stretch. No single punt return or kick return was ever intentionally missed by Bears fans for 8 years. Even though the Wide Reciever experiment blew up in everyone’s faces, I don’t blame Lovie and Co. for giving it a shot. Hester back then was like a proximity mine in Goldeneye. He could just blow up at any minute, but you really had no control over when it happened. Either way the results were endless amounts of fun.
It isn’t his fault he was an all world kick off returner forced into a “#1 Reciever” suit. It didn’t fit him. It never was going to fit him. The Bears front office (Good riddance Jerry Angelo. If there were ever a guy who I should draft the 5th round of the draft and only the 5th round of the draft, he would be the guy) failed over and over and over again to build a real offense for what seemed like forever.Basically, they threw away the best combination of Defense/Special teams anywhere in the league on Rex Grossman/Kyle Orton/Brian Griese….I’m too depressed to go on with that anymore. Here’s another Hester highlight to bring our spirits up.
But the last two years, he stopped playing receiver. I don’t know who, but somebody said “Enough is enough with this charade. It’s not working”. He just focused on returning kicks and punts, and he became dangerous again. He only scored one more return touchdown, but he had a slew of 20 yards returns where you just knew anything was possible.
Because that’s what Devin Hester was, a possibility.
Last week we learned Hester wasn’t going to be back with the Bears. The departure seemingly was mutual, as neither side had any bad words to see on the way out, which you see so much in the NFL now-a-days.
It’s the end of an era. Hester is a first ballot Hall of Famer no doubt 100%. He’ll return one more kick, get his mentor Deion Sanders’ record, then ride off into the sunset. It’s just too bad he could do it in a Bear uniform. He’ll be a Chicago legend forever, (unless well you know he plays for the Packers and break the record with them. God that would absolutely kill teenage Brian. It would absolutely kill him) and really, that doesn’t come easy around those parts. But once you get it, it’s there forever.
No one changed games by just being on the field quite like Hester did. I mean, teams were literally kicking the ball out of bounds on kick-offs and just giving the Bears a 60 yard field. That is unprecedented. The guy was magic, there’s no getting around that.
I wish you luck, Devin, and that eventually you bring back that 100 overall speed in Madden and break the record. You’re the greatest return guy of all time, it’s your record to have.
Devin Hester, you are ridiculous.