Bears News: Deion Sanders calls out Hall of Fame snub of Devin Hester
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Bears News: Deion Sanders calls out Hall of Fame snub of Devin Hester

by - Staff Writer -

During the commotion that was the NFL Super Bowl weekend, the NFL honored many different players. Of course, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles to win their second Super Bowl in four seasons. At the NFL honors, the league honored Damar Hamlin and his doctors for his triumphant recovery, Dak Prescott as the Walter Payton man of the year, gave out awards like Most Valuable Player (Patrick Mahomes), Offensive Player of the Year (Justin Jefferson), Defensive Player of the Year (Nick Bosa), Offensive rookie of the year (Garrett Wilson), Defensive rookie of the year (Sauce Gardner), Coach of the Year (Brian Daboll) and Comeback Player of the Year (Geno Smith).

The NFL also honored the new 2023 class of Hall of Famers: Ronde Barber; Darrelle Revis; Joe Thomas; Zach Thomas; DeMarcus Ware; Don Coryell (coach/contributor); Chuck Howley (senior); Joe Klecko (senior); Ken Riley (senior) — and as Bears fans understandably noticed, Devin Hester did not get his call to Canton.

Hester missed his Hall of Fame call in his second year of eligibility, which surprised and dismayed many around the NFL.

Hester began his career as a defensive back but only accumulated 11 tackles. His electrifying speed quickly made the Bears, who drafted Hester in the 2006 draft, turn him into a wide receiver. His 11-season career included almost 3,500 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns — but where Hester undoubtedly made his mark was in the return game.

Hester had a record 11 return touchdowns in his first two seasons, including a league-leading three punts, two kicks in his rookie season, and four punts in his sophomore campaign. His rookie season was capped off with a 92-yard opening kickoff return in the Super Bowl for the Bears. But that was just the start of his illustrious return career. In his NFL career, Hester returned 20 kicks for touchdowns — an NFL record. He also holds the NFL record for punt returns with 14.

Hester changed the game and constantly flipped the field position. He forced kickers into trying to kick for touchbacks and punting the ball out of bounds — he made teams gameplan for kick coverages more than ever before, and he inspired other returners to change field, take the ball out of the end zone, and showcase their speed. He transcended the return aspect of special teams and made kick and punt returners feel like a position more than ever before.

All of that, but he is still not a Hall of Famer. Hester has been named a finalist in his two years of eligibility thus far — but has not gotten over the hump.

"How can Devin Hester not be a Hall of Famer?" Fellow return man and Hall of Fame Deion Sanders said to Fansided. "This is the most idiotic thing I've ever seen in my life. Devin Hester changed the darn game. Devin Hester made it possible that no one went to use the bathroom on fourth downs. They held it until the offense got out there."

Primetime didn't stop there.

"This is a guy you couldn't deal with that you had to game plan, that took over the game," he said. "You knew unequivocally what he was going to do during that game that you paid your ticket or you turned on your TV to go watch.

"And you mean to tell me for the second consecutive year he is not a Hall of Famer?" Sanders said. "Who is picking this stuff? He changed the game."

Put simply, the Hall of Fame should feature the NFL's best players. And Sanders kept it simple, talking about Hester.

"He's the best ever!"

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