Devin Hester

Devin Hester Announces Retirement

We had a feeling that Devin Hester was done with football, but we didn’t have official confirmation – until now. The legendary return man took to Twitter on Tuesday to announce that his playing days are over. Devin Hester (vertical)

Hester leaves the game with an unparalleled highlight reel and several records that may never be broken. Hester’s 20 combined kick return touchdowns are an NFL record, as are his 14 punt return TDs. He also holds the single-season record for most return touchdowns with six.

Hester immediately made a mark on the league when he was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft. As a rookie, Hester returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. He also returned the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI 92 yards for a TD, a game that the Bears would go on to lose. When hinting at retirement in January, Hester indicated that he was disappointed to be leaving the sport without a ring.

Late last year, Hester hooked on with the Seahawks to take one more shot at Super Bowl glory. Seattle came up short in the divisional round, but Hester left on a personal high note as he returned five kickoffs for 194 yards with a long of 78 yards. He also had an impressive punt return negated by a safety.

Hester might not have the championship he was after, but he leaves the game with four Pro Bowl nods and three first-team All-Pro selections. He’s also likely to become the first player enshrined in the Hall of Fame solely as a return man.

Devin Hester Planning To Retire

The most prolific return specialist in league history plans to call it a career. As Dave Boling of the News Tribune writes, Seahawks return man Devin Hester told reporters after yesterday’s loss to the Falcons that he is going to retire. As Hester said, “I told my wife it’s pretty much my last year. I was hoping for a run to the Super Bowl. The only thing that I left out of this game is walking away without getting a ring. It’s tough.”

Dec 9, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23) returns a kick off against the Dallas Cowboys during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If Hester does retire, he left fans with one last taste of his breathtaking ability. In the loss to Atlanta, Hester returned five kickoffs for 194 yards with a long of 78 yards. He also looked to have made a crucial punt return in the second quarter, returning it from the Seattle 13 to the Atlanta 7. The Seahawks were leading 10-7 at that point, and had the return stood, they would have had the chance to seize early control of the game. But the return was negated by a holding penalty that took place at the line of scrimmage, which pushed the Seahawks back to their own 6-yard line and led to a safety when quarterback Russell Wilson was stepped on by his own lineman and stumbled into the endzone.

But the disappointing end to Hester’s career does not alter his legacy. He is widely expected to become the first player enshrined in the Hall of Fame solely as a return man, and for good reason. His 20 combined kick return touchdowns are an NFL record, as are his 14 punt return touchdowns. He also holds the single-season record for most return touchdowns (six).
Hester was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft, and the Miami product quickly made his mark on the league, returning three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns in his rookie campaign. He also returned the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI 92 yards for a score, a game that the Bears would go on to lose.
Hester’s return touchdown record is not likely to be broken anytime soon, particularly with the recent changes to kickoff rules. After his eight-year run in Chicago, Hester spent two seasons with the Falcons, enjoying a strong 2014 campaign before an injury-shortened 2015 led to questions about his future in the league. Hester then signed on with the Ravens prior to the 2016 season, but his time in Baltimore was a disaster, as he appeared timid and was generally ineffective. Baltimore released him in December and he auditioned for the Patriots before ultimately signing on with the Seahawks on January 3, just before Seattle’s first playoff game (Seattle had lost returner Tyler Lockett to a broken leg).
Hester’s last ride did not end in a Super Bowl victory as he had hoped, but it will likely end in a trip to Canton.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks To Sign Devin Hester

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.

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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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Audition Devin Hester

The Patriots brought in return specialist Devin Hester today for a tryout, a source tells Courtney Fallon of NFL Network (on Twitter). It’s not immediately clear whether they will sign him, however. "<strong

[RELATED: Tom Brady Wants To Play Until He’s 45]

Hester, one of the greatest kick returners of all-time, was dropped by the Ravens on Tuesday. Despite his impressive resume, he had a few bad hiccups this year and his decision to not field a punt on Monday night resulted in a safety.

Hester may not be the player that he once was and he can no longer cover up his suspect decision-making with Olympic-level speed. However, the Patriots may still see him as an upgrade over their current options. Some time after Hester’s misstep, Matt Slater fumbled on a kick return and gave the Ravens the ball deep in the Pats’ territory. That quickly led to a Baltimore TD.

Hester was cut loose by Atlanta this offseason and hooked on with Baltimore after healing up from toe surgery. In 2014, he showed that he could still get the job done on the other side of 30. He earned his fourth career Pro Bowl nod as he returned 45 kicks for 1,128 yards and 18 punts for 240 yards.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Release Devin Hester

One of the greatest kick returners of all-time is out of work. The Ravens announced that they have released Devin Hester. Michael Campanaro will be promoted from practice squad and serve as the team’s new returner. The Ravens also placed running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on injured reserve and signed inside linebacker Lamar Louis"<strong

[RELATED: Falcons Promote WR Nick Williams]

Hester was a late addition to the Ravens’ roster, joining the club on Sept. 4. The 34-year-old averaged 24.5 yards per kick return and 7.2 yards per attempt on punt returns. Lately, however, he has struggled to field kicks. Last night, he made a costly decision to not field a punt and it would up resulting in a safety.

The veteran could be a fit for the Patriots, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) speculates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Broncos, Bears, Sanchez

The Broncos and receiver Emmanuel Sanders were nearing a contract extension in late August, but the deal Los Angeles gave fellow wideout Tavon Austin led to Sanders raising his asking price, reports James Palmer of NFL Network (Twitter link). Sanders and the Broncos ended up agreeing to a three-year, $33MM pact with $27MM in guarantees on Wednesday. Austin hasn’t been on Sanders’ level in terms of production, but the Ram is four years younger. That helped Austin secure a longer, richer deal – four years, $42MM – with a few million more in guaranteed money ($30MM).

More contract details from around the NFL:

  • Guard Josh Sitton‘s three-year accord with the Bears is worth $21MM, $9.5MM of which guaranteed, as Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune tweets. Sitton can earn an additional $250K per season if he makes the Pro Bowl, something he did three time in Green Bay.
  • Quarterback Mark Sanchez‘s one-year deal with the Cowboys comes with a $2MM base salary and no guaranteed money, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).
  • Receiver/returner Devin Hester‘s contract with the Ravens is for one year and $1.1MM, including $100k fully guaranteed, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets.
  • New Broncos QB Austin Davis making $1.25 million this year, according to Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter). He’ll get another $200K if he takes 50% of Denver’s offensive snaps, which is a long shot for a signal-caller who’s behind Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch on the team’s depth chart.
  • Kicker Connor Barth‘s agreement with the Bears is for one year and $885K, relays Biggs (Twitter link). Barth’s predecessor, Robbie Gould, was scheduled to make $3MM this season before the Bears released him.
  • Earlier Thursday, the Steelers made guard David DeCastro the richest offensive lineman in franchise history.

Connor Byrne contributed to this post.

Ravens Place Carl Davis, Matt Elam on IR

The Ravens placed a pair of defenders on the injured reserve this afternoon. Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun tweets that the team has placed defensive tackle Carl Davis and safety Matt Elam on the injured reserve list. Zrebiec notes that the team will use the open roster spots on return man Devin Hester and running back Justin Forsett.

Matt ElamDavis, 24, suffered an ankle injury during his team’s final preseason game. The former third-rounder played in 13 games (three starts) as a rookie, compiling 11 tackles and two passes defended. Roster Resource projected Davis to serve as the team’s top reserve nose tackle.

Elam, 24, was the Ravens’ first-round pick back in 2013. The safety showed plenty of promise through his first two years in the league, compiling 127 tackles, seven passes defended, and an interception in 32 games. Elam missed all of 2015 with a biceps injury, and he was battling a knee injury throughout this preseason.

Ravens To Sign Devin Hester

6:05pm: The Ravens have officially announced the move (via Twitter). The team hasn’t announced a corresponding roster move.

Meanwhile, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the one-year deal carries a max value of $4MM based on incentives.

9:30am: The Ravens have agreed to sign Devin Hester, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It’ll be a one-year deal for the veteran kick returner. "<strong

Hester joined the Falcons prior to the 2014 season and enjoyed his fourth Pro Bowl berth – his first since 2010. Hester returned 45 kicks for 1,128 yards and 18 punts for 240 yards, showing that he was still dangerous in the return game. This offseason, he was cut loose by Atlanta. It remains to be seen whether Hester can build on his NFL record in return touchdowns (20) and punt return touchdowns (14).

The Ravens had other options in the return game heading into the offseason, but they’ve since cut ties with nearly all of them. Wide receivers Jeremy Butler, Michael Campanaro, and Keenan Reynolds all were thought to be contenders for the returner job in Baltimore, but the club waived all three over the weekend, likely with an eye towards adding Hester.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Work Out Devin Hester

The Ravens worked out veteran wide receiver/return man Devin Hester today, reports Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). Hester has been on the open market since July when he was released by the Falcons, but is now almost back to full health."<strong

Baltimore has decent depth at wide receiver, with Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Chris Moore, and Jeremy Butler representing the club’s top options, so Hester would likely act strictly as a returner if signed. With Kaelin Clay — the Ravens’ primary return man in 2015 — on injured reserve, Hester would compete with Butler and Michael Campanaro for duty on special teams.

Hester joined the Falcons prior to the 2014 season and enjoyed his fourth Pro Bowl berth – his first since 2010. Hester returned 45 kicks for 1,128 yards and 18 punts for 240 yards, showing that he was still dangerous in the return game. It remains to be seen whether Hester will continue his NFL journey and build on his NFL record in return touchdowns (20) and punt return touchdowns (14).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Devin Hester Almost Back To Full Health

Free agent Devin Hester is letting every team in the league know that he is almost recovered from offseason toe surgery. The veteran posted an Instagram video from his workout on Wednesday morning with the intent of showing that he is mostly healthy, as ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure writes. Devin Hester (vertical)

[RELATED: Falcons Sign Sergio Brown]

Hester was cut loose by the Falcons late last month. Soon after, it was reported that the 33-year-old was drawing interest from at least seven teams, though the names of those teams were not disclosed.

Hester joined the Falcons prior to the 2014 season and enjoyed his fourth Pro Bowl berth – his first since 2010. Hester returned 45 kicks for 1,128 yards and 18 punts for 240 yards, showing that he was still dangerous in the return game. Unfortunately, he missed all but five games last season because of his bothersome toe. It remains to be seen whether Hester will continue his NFL journey and build on his NFL record in return touchdowns (20) and punt return touchdowns (14).

The veteran has said that he will not sign until he is back to 100% health. Today’s demonstration could be an indication that he’ll land somewhere soon, assuming that he really does have seven or more teams with interest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.