The greatest return man the NFL has ever seen, Devin Hester, officially announced his retirement on Tuesday, in a statement posted to Twitter.
Hester, who is now 35-years-old and hasn’t played this season, began his announcement by saying he had good news and bad news.
“Good news: Commissioner Goodell, you can put the kickoff back at the 30.
“Bad news: Y’all will have to find a new favorite returner,” Hester wrote.
“Over the last year, I’ve spent time reflecting on my career surrounded by friends and family, and I realized it’s time for me to officially retire from the NFL.”
He went on to thank “The U,” the University of Miami, where he gave a preview of what was to come in the NFL: of the eight touchdowns he scored with the Hurricanes, six were punt or kick returns; Hester wrote that former Miami coach Don Soldinger “brought special teams into my life and inspired me to represent the S on my chest like Superman.”
A second-round pick of the Bears in 2006, Hester also thanked Chicago fans, who he said “made a Florida boy feel at home in the Midwest from Day 1. I grew into a man, built a family, and became who I am today in the city of Chicago,” adding that he especially wanted to thank former Bears coach Lovie Smith for taking a chance on him in the draft.
He tipped his cap to the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks organizations, the teams he played for after leaving the Bears after the 2013 season. Hester was a Pro Bowler for the fourth time with the Falcons in 2014, and went to the playoffs with the Seahawks last year. His final game was the NFC Divisional round against Atlanta in January, when he had five kickoff returns for 194 yards.
“I owe it all to me coaches, teammates, fans and family,” Hester wrote. And to my speed…I can still beat anyone down that sideline.”
Bears fans’ favorite Hester moment likely came on the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI against the Indianapolis Colts, when he returned the ball 92 yards to put the Bears up 7-0 within seconds. Chicago would ultimately lose the game, but Hester did his part that night.
"Devin Hester, you are ridiculous"
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) December 12, 2017
Hester had 37 regular-season touchdowns total, but 20 of those came on either a kick or punt return; no player in league history has ever recorded more non-offensive touchdowns (Deion Sanders had 19 touchdowns, either on defense or kick returns).
His 3,695 punt return yards rank third-most all time, and his 7,333 kickoff return yards are 11th-most all-time. He returned fourteen punts for scores, most ever.
Hester closed his retirement statement by writing, “Hopefully next time I see y’all it’ll be in Canton,” as in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He has a few years to wait before he becomes eligible and seeing how Hall voters view him, but if we’ve seen two pure place-kickers and one punter enshrined, why couldn’t we see the greatest returner ever get a bust?
Do you think Hester should go into the Hall? Let us know in the comments.
CURTAINS ✌ Appreciate all of the love for all these years!!! Y’all made the ride incredible!!! pic.twitter.com/jkcVrRLcNI
— Devin Hester (@D_Hest23) December 12, 2017
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Dan Wetzel: Lithuanian move isn’t exactly Big Baller
• Charles Barkley: Alabamians ‘brainwashed’ for Roy Moore
• With Hall of Fame nod, hurler breaks down in tears
• Report: Faulk, McNabb named in sexual harassment suit