Devin Hester Announces Retirement From NFL

Devin Hester, the NFL’s career leader in combined kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns, announced his retirement via Twitter on Tuesday.

“I have good news and bad news,” he said in a statement. “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, 35, finishes his career with 14 punt returns for touchdowns — also the best in NFL history — and five TDs on kickoff returns.

Considered the best return man in the NFL for many years, Hester made four Pro Bowls and was first-team All-Pro three times.

He played for Baltimore and Seattle last season but hadn’t played this year. He hinted in January, after the Seahawks were eliminated from the postseason, that he had played his final NFL game.

As recently as 2014 with Atlanta, he led the league with 1,128 kickoff return yards.

Hester made his name with the Chicago Bears. The University of Miami product led the league in punt-return yards and touchdowns (three) during his rookie season in 2006. He played eight years with the Bears.

“To all of the Bears fans, you brought me in and made a Florida boy feel at home in the Midwest from Day 1,” Hester wrote in his statement. “I grew into a man, built a family, and became who I am today in the city of Chicago. I’ll always remember the noise y’all made whenever I hit open turf at Soldier [Field] — never heard anything quite like it.

“I’d also especially like to thank Coach Lovie Smith for taking a chance on me in the draft and getting this whole thing started.”

Smith, now the coach at the University of Illinois, tweeted his appreciation for Hester in return.

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