Ravens release kick returner Hester, who never got on track

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Kick returner Devin Hester has been cut by the Baltimore Ravens after the four-time Pro Bowl star struggled in his first season with the team.

Signed as a free agent following offseason toe surgery, Hester returned only 25 punts and fumbled four times.

The 34-year-old Hester often let the ball drop instead of making a fair catch. After he failed to field a punt early in Monday night's game against New England, the ball was downed at the 1-yard line and the Patriots got a safety on the next play.

He averaged 7.2 yards per punt return, taking only two more than 20 yards. He averaged 24.5 yards per kickoff return but fumbled once.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh attributed Hester's early season struggle to nagging injuries, but the one-time standout kicker returner never showed the form that made him a star with Chicago and Atlanta.

Hester was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2014. He has an NFL-record 20 touchdowns on kick returns.

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