Legendary Bears returner Devin Hester has 'no doubt' in his mind he's a Hall of Famer

Devin Hester is the best returner in the history of football, but because his contributions were mostly limited to special teams, his Hall of Fame credentials have been subject to debate ever since he retired back in 2017.

Despite the debate over the importance of a returner, Hester remains optimistic that he'll be inducted into the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2022. He has "no doubt" he's bound for Canton because his "play on the field speaks for itself."

"Being in HOF, I have no doubt in my mind I (will) make it," Hester told The Athletic's Jon Greenberg. "I know I will. When it's all said and done, there's no question I will be a Hall of Famer."

Hester also hinted that he might know something that is providing him with even more confidence. 

"There's some stuff I've been told I can't say," he said.

In most cases, when a player is regarded as the best ever at their position group, they're also regarded as a lock for the Hall of Fame. And there's no doubt Hester, who never caught on as a cornerback or receiver, was the league's most dangerous returner during his 11-year career, most of which he spent with the Bears

He owns the NFL record for the most non-offensive touchdowns, beating out the likes of Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson, both of whom are Hall of Famers.

Fourteen of his 20 non-offensive touchdowns came on punt returns (an NFL record), five came on kickoff returns, and one came on a missed field goal return. Not included is his touchdown in the Super Bowlwhen he returned the opening kick 92 yards to the house to provide Bears fans with one highlight from an otherwise dreadful performance.

Even when he wasn't scoring touchdowns, he was impacting the game more than any other specials teams player. As his reputation grew, opposing teams often refused to punt the ball to him, which means they were sacrificing valuable field position by booting the ball out of bounds. 

Hester's former coach, Lovie Smith, really put it best back in 2017.

"Whenever you say that somebody is the best at a position in the NFL, when you say they're the best, the greatest of all time, he should be in the Hall of Fame," Smith said, per 670 The Score. "For me, he should be first ballot in the Hall of Fame."

His former teammate, Matt Forte, agreed.

"He changed the game," Forte said, via NBC Sports Chicago. "I mean, literally, changed the game. If you can affect the game like that, he's gotta be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The definition of a Hall of Famer is somebody who changed the game -- like defenses and coaches had to carve out certain time to assess that particular guy. There's not going to be another Devin Hester ever, I don't believe."

In the meantime, while we wait for Hester to gain eligibility, enjoy the most ridiculous highlight reel ever.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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