Devin Hester will no longer be doing ridiculous things in the NFL.
The legendary return man who spent eight of his 11 years in the NFL with the Bears, officially retired with a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday.
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
Hester, 35, led off with a joke, saying Commissioner Roger Goodell could move kickoffs back to the 30, but fans would have to find a new favorite returner.
“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,” Hester wrote.
Hester went on to thank coaches and the people at the University of Miami. Then he thanked Bears fans.
“You brought me in and made a Florida boy feel at home in the Midwest from Day 1,” Hester wrote. “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 - never heard anything quite like it.”
Try to read that last line and not get chills. Hester’s returns with the Bears were some of the most famous moments in the past few decades of the team and his opening kickoff return in Super Bowl XLI has a strong case as the best Bears moment since the team won Super Bowl XX.
“I’d also like to especially thank Coach Lovie Smith for taking a chance on me in the draft and getting this whole thing started,” Hester continued.
Hester had 13 punt return touchdowns and five kick return touchdowns in eight years with the Bears. The kickoff return against the Colts in the Super Bowl was Hester’s only postseason touchdown return. After leaving the Bears, Hester played with Atlanta in 2014 and 2015, adding one more punt return touchdown, and spent 2016 with Seattle and Baltimore.
Hester holds the NFL record for most all-time return touchdowns (punt and kickoff combined) and most all-time punt return touchdowns.
He closed his statement by saying, “Hopefully next time I see y’all it’ll be in Canton.”
Hester’s “ridiculous” career and his return records give him a strong case to make the Hall of Fame and Bears fans will eagerly be waiting for that day.