The Seahawks are signing return man Devin Hester in advance of their weekend wild-card matchup with the Lions, according to FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer (Twitter link). Hester will presumably take over punt return duties for the Seahawks, who lost Tyler Lockett to a broken leg Dec. 24. Star cornerback Richard Sherman filled that role during the Seahawks’ regular-season finale last Sunday, but he’s far too important to the club’s defense to continue as a returner.
Hester, a four-time Pro Bowler who has spent time with the Bears, Falcons and Ravens, is among the greatest return men in the history of the NFL. The 34-year-old’s heyday is in the rear-view mirror, though, and his stint with the Ravens ended last month after his failure to field a punt against the Patriots resulted in a safety. New England subsequently tried out Hester, but it opted against signing him.
In 12 regular-season games in 2016, Hester averaged 7.2 yards per punt return – up from a career-low 4.3 last year – and recorded a 24.5-yard mean on kickoff returns. The Seahawks have in-house kick return options in Paul Richardson and J.D. McKissic, but Hester is likely an upgrade over those two and could grab the reins from them.