When the Detroit Lions play the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, they'll also be facing return specialist Devin Hester, who Lions' coach Jim Caldwell says should be a future Hall of Famer.
Hester has 20 career returns for scores heading into the game at Wembley Stadium in London. Last month, he broke Deion Sanders’ NFL record for most career return touchdowns.
“He’s made it an art form and cut a niche in there like no one else has in the game, I think.” Caldwell told the Detroit Free Press. “There’s been some great returners in this game, there’s no question about that. Deion Sanders was one that was one of those guys that was dangerous, in that regard. This guy is equally so and I think he will be one of the first guys to ever sort of carve that niche out.”
No return specialist has been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Hester is fourth in the NFL this season with a punt-return average of 11.9 yards and is also playing a role at wide receiver for the Falcons.
Lions punter Sam Martin said Hester is as dangerous as ever.
“He’s undoubtedly the best to ever do it, so that’s definitely something you consider,” Martin said. “But just like I’ve said about every other guy we’ve faced, they’re all dangerous and you don’t want to give any of them an easy return.”
Hester has 14 career touchdowns on punt returns, five on kickoff returns and one on a return of a missed field goal, which he scored against the New York Giants as a rookie in 2006.