Devin Hester was a relative unknown when the Chicago Bears drafted him in 2006 as a 2nd round pick. All fans and media knew at the time was he’d been a really good returner at Miami. Nobody ever could’ve predicted what was to come. That just two years into his NFL career discussions were already happening about whether he’d end up in Canton. That is what happens when you score 12 return touchdowns including one on the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl.
By the time he retired in 2017, there was no debate. He was the absolute best returner the NFL had ever seen and it wasn’t even close. An incredible 19 return touchdowns. Four Pro Bowls. Three All-Pro selections and membership on both the NFL All-Decade team for both the 2000s and 2010s. Sadly the voters saw fit to rob him of the one final accolade that nobody else is likely ever to claim for that position. Pro Football Hall of Famer.
On February 10th, 2022 it became official that the Bears legend would not get it this year.
The 2022 Class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame:
OT Tony Boselli
WR Cliff Branch
S Leroy Butler
LB Sam Mills
DL Richard Seymour
DL Bryant Young
Coach Dick Vermeil
Contributor Art McNally
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 11, 2022
Just a matter of when. pic.twitter.com/4Bqv3HfQ0A
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 11, 2022
This is unfortunate. Based on how things went, it feels like Devin Hester was a victim of circumstances. The voting committee seemed intent on inducting several candidates that had been passed over in previous years multiple times. Tony Boselli and LeRoy Butler are the two that have had long waits after becoming eligible years ago. Hester likely felt like an acceptable sacrifice in order to get them in. Yet Richard Seymour somehow got in over him.
The decision was egregious. This is a man that changed the game of football forever. The only returner that ever singlehandedly decided the outcome of contests. Somebody that players from both teams got off the bench to watch. They say a Hall of Famer is determined by whether an era can be described without mentioning that player. Nobody can talk about the 2000s without Hester’s name coming up. He belongs in Canton.