Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester was one of the NFL's most explosive weapons during his heyday. A return specialist, Hester caused fits to opposing special teams units with his incredible agility and acceleration.
Renowned as arguably the best kick returner of all time, Hester closed the curtain on his football career in 2016, but what is the speedy 38-year-old up to these days?
Early Life and College Career
Devin Hester was born in Riviera Beach, Florida, and was raised by his uncle, Derrick Brown, who introduced him to football at a young age. Hester played high school football at Suncoast High School where he excelled as a multi-positional threat and was rated highly as a cornerback.
After high school, Hester took his talents to the University of Miami and began to get recognized for his skill on kick returns. During his tenure in Miami, Hester scored six return touchdowns, including four during his sophomore campaign in 2004.
After three seasons at Miami, Hester had solidified himself as a generational special teams talent, and opted to declare for the NFL Draft.
Let's talk about Devin Hester's rookie season (via @NFLThrowback):
? Record 7 return TD (including playoffs)
? 2 return TD in one game vs. Rams
? Then-record 108-yard missed FG TD return vs. Giants
? First opening kickoff return TD in a @SuperBowl (XLI)#NFL100 | @D_Hest23 pic.twitter.com/qW26V4qJpV
— NFL (@NFL) July 6, 2019
Devin Hester was drafted by head coach Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, and while the move was criticized by fans and pundits alike, it took no time at all for Hester to make his doubters eat their words.
During his rookie season, Hester scored three punt return touchdowns as well as two kick return touchdowns, both of which came against the Rams. He led the NFL with 600 punt return yards, while also making the Pro Bowl and First-Team All-Pro. He scored a punt return touchdown against the Packers in his first NFL game, shining some light on what was to come for Bears fans.
After helping lift the Bears past the Saints in the NFC Championship, Hester left his mark on Super Bowl XLI, a matchup between the Bears and Indianapolis Colts. Hester managed to shock the world and get the game off to a wild start by housing the opening kickoff on a legendary 92-yard return to the end zone.
The return man was even more impressive during his second season in the league, logging four punt return touchdowns and two kickoff return scores, while earning First-Team All-Pro honors and another trip to the Pro Bowl.
In 2011, Hester set a record for the longest return in NFL history, having returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants.
Hester would play eight seasons in Chicago, scoring 13 punt return touchdowns and five kick return touchdowns during his tenure, while racking up over 3,000 punt return yards and 5,500 kick return yards. He played in 123 games for the Bears as well as seven playoff games.
After leaving the Bears in 2014, Hester joined the Atlanta Falcons, where he'd spend two seasons. His last year in the NFL came in 2016, when he split time with the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens.
Prior to Hester, Kansas City Chiefs' return specialist Dante Hall was oft considered the top dog on special teams, however the Bears' speedster quickly dethroned him with his 19 total return touchdowns.
Devin Hester Now
Devin Hester has been retired for a few years now, and he seems to be focused on spending time with his family. Hester is married to his wife Zingha and have three sons. He frequently posts to social media with photos of him and his family spending time together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of Hester's sons, Dray, went viral after a clip emerged of him juking multiple defenders in a youth football camp.
— Overtime (@overtime) July 15, 2019
The 38-year-old Hester isn't eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame until 2022, though he has a real case to be inducted based off his prolific career returning kicks, per ESPN.