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Devin Hester: Y'all will have to find new favorite returner

By
The Sports Xchange
Former Atlanta Falcons receiver Devin Hester reacts as officials nullify a potential Hester touchdown run because of a penalty during a game against the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. File photo by David Tulis/UPI
Former Atlanta Falcons receiver Devin Hester reacts as officials nullify a potential Hester touchdown run because of a penalty during a game against the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. File photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Devin Hester, the all-time leader in combined kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns, announced his retirement from the NFL on Twitter Tuesday.

"I have good news and bad news," the 35-year-old Hester wrote. "Good news: Commissioner Goodell, you can put the kickoff back at the 30. Bad news: Y'all will have to find a new favorite returner."

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Hester could have a case for becoming the first return man to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He returned 14 punts, five kickoffs and a missed field goal for touchdowns in his career for an NFL record 20 return TDs.

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Hester played for the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks last season. He hasn't suited up for a team this year.

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Hester played eight seasons with the Bears, highlighted by leading the league in punt return yards and touchdowns (three) during his rookie campaign in 2006.

"To all of the Bears fans, you brought me in and made a Florida boy feel at home in the Midwest from Day 1," Hester wrote. "I grew into a man, built a family, and became who I am today in the city of Chicago. I'll always remember the noise y'all made whenever I hit open turf at Soldier (Field) -- never heard anything quite like it.

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"I'd also especially like to thank Coach Lovie Smith for taking a chance on me in the draft and getting this whole thing started."

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As a receiver, his best seasons were 51 catches for 665 yards and three touchdowns in 2008, 57 receptions for 757 yards and three scores the following year and 40 catches for 475 yards and four touchdowns in 2010.

Hester also touched on his time with the Atlanta Falcons, Ravens and Seahawks during his post.

In 2014 with the Falcons, Hester caught 38 passes for 504 yards (13.3-yard average) and two touchdowns. He also had his last punt return for a touchdown that year.

"Hopefully next time I see y'all it'll be in Canton," Hester wrote in his post.

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