Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte offered his former teammate Devin Hester some high praise on Friday when, according to Michael C. Wright at ESPN.com, he said that Hester was "Hall of Fame worthy."
I definitely had to give him props on breaking the record. I just told him congratulations, all his hard work paid off even when people were saying, 'Ah, he's not going to break [the record],' or 'he's done. He can't return the ball anymore,' whenever he'd have a tough year. I'm just proud of him for staying the course ... He's Hall-of-Fame worthy now.
Hester, a nine-year veteran in his first year with the Atlanta Falcons, made NFL history on Thursday night when he returned a Tampa Bay Buccaneers punt 62 yards, earning his 20th career scoring return and breaking a record set by Deion Sanders.
Hester played eight seasons with the Bears, during which he amassed 11,632 all-purpose yards. Last season, his final in Chicago, he averaged 27.6 yards on kickoff returns and 14.2 yards on punt returns.
Forte was confident many former teammates and coaches would offer praise to Hester. Some were able to do so more quickly than others. Hester's touchdown came against current Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith, Hester's coach in Chicago.