It’s only right that the Chicago Bears’ centennial celebration will feature the best return specialist in NFL history.
The Bears announced Devin Hester as the latest star attraction attending the star-studded Bears100 Celebration Weekend, which will commemorate the franchise’s 100th anniversary June 7-9 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Hester is scheduled to join former teammates Charles Tillman, Olin Kreutz, Patrick Mannelly, and Roberto Garza on a panel discussing the 2006 NFC Championship squad. Stand-out players from a memorable season? Sign me up!
Hester was a three-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler during his eight years in Chicago. He played 123 games and returned 13 punts, five kicks, and one missed field goal for a touchdown as he put together a Hall-of-Fame-caliber résumé with the Bears. Hester even held his own when the team tried to get him more involved in the offense when they threw him into the mix at wide receiver. Those 217 catches, 2,807 receiving yards, and 14 touchdowns don’t jump off the page, but it’s not bad for a return specialist who was drafted as a cornerback out of Miami. We can only wonder what those numbers could have been like had Hester played in a competent offense with a better coaching fit.
Hester didn’t play in 2017 and retired as a Bear last offseason, which starts the clock on his Hall of Fame candidacy. And while much of the chatter surrounding Hester at #Bears100 might focus on the past, it would make for a good time to give that Hall of Fame push a running start.