Former Bears RB Matt Forte thinks Devin Hester should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer
The Chicago Bears honored a couple of franchise greats in Matt Forte and Devin Hester on Monday. Forte added that it might not be the only honor Hester receives in the near future.
Although both players made their mark as generational talents, Hester was unlike anything the league had ever seen. It is for that reason Forte feels the former specialist should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, according to JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports:
“He changed the game,” Forte said. “I mean, literally, changed the game. If you can affect the game like that, he’s gotta be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The definition of a Hall of Famer is somebody who changed the game — like defenses and coaches had to carve out certain time to assess that particular guy. There’s not going to be another Devin Hester ever, I don’t believe.”
Forte added that there should be a sense of urgency to get him in considering where the future of special teams is headed.
“It’s a big part of football, it’s one of the most exciting plays when you’re playing this game of football,” Hester said. “At the end of the day, if I’m the last, if I’m the one to be the best at the return game, it’s an honor. But at the same time, I want to continue to see it play out.”
Although specialists are often overlooked when it comes to voting for the Hall of Fame, Hester makes a rather compelling case. The Bears had initially drafted him as a cornerback out of Miami. However, it was not long before he made his bones as a returner.
Hester burst onto the scene during the 2006 NFL season thanks to his prowess on special teams. He essentially solidified his legacy when he returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLI. Hester would finish his career as the NFL’s all-time leader in return touchdowns and punt return touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Hester may be the last of a dying breed since there is speculation that the kickoff being removed from the game has become an inevitability. That said, he could potentially be the final returner to ever make it to Canton.