Bears coach: Devin Hester revolutionized football like Elway or Manning

Former Bears returner Devin Hester is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist.

Devin Hester revolutionized the NFL the same way that John Elway and Peyton Manning did, Bears special teams coordinator Richard Hightower said Thursday.

For the second time in as many years, the former Bears return star was named one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday. His 20 return touchdowns are an NFL record, and he’s the only player to start a Super Bowl with a kickoff return for a touchdown.

“If you want to talk what the Hall of Fame is supposed to represent, it’s supposed to represent being the best players at their positions — the best players to ever play the game,” Hightower said. “I don’t think that there’s a question that Devin Hester is the best player at the return position, in the combo return position, with all the records that he holds, everything he did his rookie year, everything he has done not only at the Bears, even when he went somewhere else. He revolutionized the game of football and how coaches cover kicks.”

Hester returned three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2006, his first of eight seasons with the Bears.

“Who changed the game in the kick return game in the way he did?” Hightower asked. “Other than a quarterback like a John Elway or a Peyton Manning at their position, who did it in the kick return position? There’s not enough attention or credit to go to Devin. It’s phenomenal what he was able to do, and it’s still mind-boggling to see how good he was when you sit down and you study it. So, I just think that’s a no-brainer and I hope it happens.”


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