Posts Tagged ‘punts’

 

There are few players who get famous by being a return specialist.  I am not saying that there are not any of them, but Hester has taken it to an all new level.  Most people do not know how tough of a childhood that Hester really had.  He had to overcome a lot of childhood issues as well as teenage issues.  Hester might actually be able to make the Hall of Fame just by being a return specialist.

Devin Hester was born on November 4th, 1982 in Florida.  When Devin was a toddler his parents separated which had an impact on his childhood.  When Devin got into his teenage years his mother was severely injured in a horrific car accident; and just two years later his father died of cancer.  Because of all these incidents he fell into a deep depression and he could not get out of it.  His step-parents recommended that he take his aggression out on the football field.  Once he started playing football his depression went away and started enjoying life again.

Hester attended Palm Beach Gardens High School where he excelled on the football field as a return guy, defensive back, and a wide receiver.  In 2002 he was invited to play in the CaliFlorida Bowl where he returned an 80 yard touchdown return and earned him the name “Sugar Foot”.  In the off season he enjoyed playing baseball and soccer, but he always looked forward to the football season to come.  After graduating he was pursued by numerous colleges for his speed and agility.

Hester enrolled to attend the University of Miami and as a sophomore he gained a lot of national attention for his kick returning skills.  He was named to the Walter Camp All-American Team and the Sporting News All-American Team.  In college he earned the nickname “Hurricane Hester” from how good he was as a returner.  He rarely played offense, but in his college career he returned 6 returns for touchdowns and returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown.  Hester also was a solid defender on defense and that gained him some recognition from NFL scouts.

In 2006 Hester entered the NFL Draft and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the second round.  He was originally drafted to play a corner back, but he ended up being a better return man.  In his first NFL game, and the first time he stepped on the field he returned a punt for a touchdown.  He also returned a missed field goal for a 108-yards for a touchdown.  In his rookie season he had 6 returns for touchdowns and earned him 3 Special Teams Awards.  Throughout his career he has been the leagues most dangerous return man and teams are always trying to find ways to contain him.  The Bears have utilized him as a receiver as well, but he has never been named as a starter.  In his career so far he has returned 12 kickoffs for touchdowns, 5 punts for touchdowns, and 14 receiving touchdowns.

Hester holds 9 NFL Records and they are all for special teams, 3 Pro Bowls, 4 All-Pro selections, ESPY Player of the Year, and 13 NFC Player of the Week.  Hester still has a long career ahead of him and it is very inspiring how he was able to turn a bad situation into a career.  He could of just stayed a depressed kid and could have never tried football, but he chose to get better as a person and that turned him into an NFL star.

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