Devin Hester was born in Riviera Beach Florida and went to Suncoast Community High School. He played several positions in high school football. For the University of Miami, Hester played on special teams, offense, and defense. Hester was also a track star.
Hester was a second round draft pick for the Bears in 2006. In his first year on the Bears roster, he excelled at kickoff and punt returns being a huge factor in the Bears journey to the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XLI against the Indianapolis Colts, Hester ran the opening kickoff back for a touchdown 92 yards in the first seconds of the game. The Colts managed to keep the ball away from Hester for the remainder of the game and won, 29-17.
Watching the highlight films of Hester’s returns for touchdowns, speed was always a key factor and he accelerated seemingly in split seconds. He had a certainly subtlety in his moves which allowed him to avoid wasted motion. He also made small adjustments in direction even before he caught the ball. He certainly was able to made quick changes as well, but it was usually about speed. On many of his touchdown runs, he was hardly touched.
Hester’s role would eventually include wide receiver as the Bears tried to get him more playing time.
Hester would play 8 years for the Bears and finish out his career with the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens plus a final playoff run with the Seattle Seahawks. For the Bears, he returned 264 punts for 3241 yards and 13 touchdowns. He returned 222 kickoffs for 5404 yards for 5 touchdowns. As a Bear receiver, he had 217 receptions for 2807 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was a 3-time All Pro and invited to the Pro Bowl 4 times. He led the league in punt-return yards in 2006 and 2010, and kick-return yards in 2013 and 2014. He holds several records for returners.
Hester is remembered by football fans as one of the most exciting players in the history of the game and the greatest return man of all-time. He was named to the Top 100 Chicago Bears of All Time.
New Sporting Chance Press Football Book for Youth:
PAPA BEAR AND THE CHICAGO BEARS’ WINNING WAYS reviews the exciting story of George Halas and his dynamic role in professional football for those in middle school and older. Author: Patrick McCaskey.
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