For the last few years, the Chicago Bears have tried turning their return specialist, Devin Hester, into a wide receiver with mixed results. This season, under new coach, Marc Trestman, he has returned to his old job and why not, because after all, he holds the NFL record for most all-time return touchdowns (punt and kick combined), and most all-time punt return touchdowns.
Yesterday, during the Bears’ come from behind victory over the Minnesota Vikings 31-30, Hester had a few chances to prove once again he is the best kick returner in the league. He took Vikings Kicker Blair Walsh’s kickoff eight yards deep in the end zone and it looked like he was going to go all the way except he was stopped at the Vikings’ 32.
He was even closer to scoring on his next return though, flying through the Vikings’ defense like he was superman, but getting stopped at the Vikings’ 23. He also added returns of 42, 31, and 20 yards for a franchise record 249 kickoff return yards, which is a 49.8 average. “He was there all day long, punt returns, kickoff returns”, said quarterback Jay Cutler.
However, Hester isn’t buying into the fact it was all him. “The weather played a factor”, he said. “It was a rainy day. The ball was a little heavy. So it kind of prevented a lot of touchbacks”. All in all, it gave him a chance to do what he does best and who knows when that chance will come again. “Opportunities come and go,” he said, “who knows how next week is going to go? Teams watch film and they see how good our special teams are doing right now. I might not get any more kicks for the next three or four games”.
As Hester regains his old role, hopefully teams will continue kicking the ball to him, because when Hester is returning the ball, which is what he does best, it gives a huge boost to the offense.