Bears News: Devin Hester, Steve McMichael and Julius Peppers going into the Hall of Fame
David Banks - USA Today Sports

Bears News: Devin Hester, Steve McMichael and Julius Peppers going into the Hall of Fame

by - Senior Writer -

One of the biggest topics surrounding the Bears and the NFL, for that matter, is whether or not former NFL WR/KR Devin Hester would make it into the Hall of Fame. After coming so close the past few seasons, it appeared as if the committee valued the success Hester had less than other people did, and it felt like he would get left out of the Hall.

Well, that is changing, and although it hasn't been made officially yet, reports are coming out that Devin Hester will indeed be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2024 Class. This has been a long time coming and is well deserved should that happen, but Hester won't be alone as Julius Peppers and Steve McMichael are also expected to be among the Hall of Fame players, as all three had great careers in Chicago.

Hester may not have had to wait as long as some players do (three years) to be exact, but he deserved to be a first-ballot hall of famer once he became eligible. Hester changed the game of football in terms of the return game, as he was every coach's nightmare on the field. Whenever he touched the ball, Hester had the chance to take it the distance, and he struck fear in the eyes of every player and coach in the league.

Unlike most WRs who go into the hall based on their overall receiving stats, Hester wasn't much of a WR and instead made his living in the return game. When you look at the records he has accumulated over the years, you can see why he was nominated and is now officially headed to Canton.

Hester currently holds the record for most special teams touchdowns in a career: 20 (14 punts, 5 kickoffs, 1 missed field goal), Most non-offensive TDs in a career: 20, Most kickoff and punt return TDs: 19, Most punt return TDs: 14, and Most punt return TDs in a season: 4 (2007). In other words, he created the phrase don't kick it to Hester as teams didn't want to become another statistic in his record book.

While Hester will be the focal point of this year's Bears class, he won't be alone, as McMichael will get his flowers, too. A long-time defensive tackle from 1980-1994, McMichael spent 1981-93 with the Bears and will be announced as part of the Senior ballot. Mongo’s best years came in Chicago, where he began his trek into becoming a larger-than-life figure. McMichael was at the peak of his powers between 1985-87.

During that three-year run, McMichael played a massive role in the Bear's lone Superbowl championship, came away with 23 sacks in 44 games, made two Pro Bowls, and earned first-team All-Pro honors twice. For his career, McMichael had 95 career sacks at the defensive tackle position and has been credited with changing how people look at the DT position. Those numbers alone put him on the ballot, and he has now gotten his due.

The biggest surprise of the group could be seeing Peppers get the call after not being on the ballot that long. Unlike the previous two, who spent most, if not their entire career, in Chicago, Peppers was only with the Bears for four seasons, but they were outstanding seasons nonetheless.

One of the better pass rushers of his time, Peppers finished his career with 159.5 sacks, which ranks him in the top 10 of all time. His career-best came in 2008 with the Panthers when he racked up 14.5 sacks, but when he came to Chicago, all he did was produce, as he never had fewer than seven sacks during his time with the Bears.

Peppers finished his Chicago career with 37.5 sacks in four seasons, including back-to-back 11 sack campaigns in 2011 and 2012. Given what he accomplished with the Bears and around the league, there is no denying that he was one of the best pass rushers ever to play this game and is very worthy of putting on that Gold Jacket.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!