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Devin Hester Inks Three-Year Deal With Atlanta Falcons

After eight seasons with the Chicago Bears, Devin Hester is moving to the Atlanta Falcons to continue his storied career as one of the NFL’s best return men.

Devin Hester
Devin Hester

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons have signed all-time punt and kickoff return touchdowns leader Devin Hester to a three-year-deal.

Terms of the free-agent deal were not disclosed, but several media outlets have reported the former Bears star was seeking somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million per season. Not many believe the Falcons ponied up that much to land Hester, given nowadays he is strictly a special teams player and he earned at least a full million less than that last season with the Bears.

What’s more, the 31-year-old specialist’s return average has decreased in two of his last four seasons. Hester, who amassed 1,442 kick-off return yards, as well as 256 yards and a touchdown on punt returns last season, also attracted some interest from the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Falcons settled on Hester after also flirting with Trindon Holiday, the former Denver Broncos’ 27-year-old return man with roughly half of Hester’s experience. But in the end, given all the organization’s playoff aspirations, team officials decided to go with the more polished and proven commodity.

In all, Hester has played eight NFL seasons. Over that time, he has amassed 5,510 overall return yards and 19 touchdowns, including an 81-yard punt return for a score against Washington last season that tied Hall of Fame mentor Deion Sanders for most return touchdowns at 19. The jaunt was also Hester’s 13th punt return for a score, extending his own record in that category. Hester also returned a Jay Feely missed field-goal for a record-setting 108-yard score late last season.

Despite being forced to part ways with the only NFL team he has played for, Hester and the Bears seemed to end their relationship on at least a respectful  note.

All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support,” he previously told reporters. “They’ve always been great to me. Always been loyal. I couldn’t have played for a better city than those guys. At the end of my career, I do want to retire as a member of the Bears.”

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