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Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Devin Hester's top returns: No. 4

By Vaughn McClure

We continue the series of Atlanta Falcons' newcomer Devin Hester and his greatest returns with the one he ranked the fourth best of his record-setting stint with the Chicago Bears:

Scene: Soldier Field, Chicago (Sept. 27, 2010)

Devin Hester
Devin Hester ended his punt return for a touchdown with a leap into the Soldier Field stands.
Scenario: The Bears faced their bitter rival, the Green Bay Packers, on "Monday Night Football." At the start of the fourth quarter, the Packers dared to punt to Hester after he almost broke free on a return earlier in the game. Hester, in his throwback No. 23 jersey, backtracked and fielded a booming punt by rookie Tim Masthay to the Bears' 38-yard line. Hester sprinted right then made a quick moved back inside and avoided a couple of weak arm tackles as he took off down the sideline. He leaped over Masthay's tackle attempt at the 5-yard line and bounced into the end zone for a 62-yard touchdown -- his first return score since Dec. 30, 2007. To celebrate the moment and rub it in the face of the opponent, Hester did the "Lambeau Leap" into the home crowd, and just about hurt himself in the process. The Bears won the game, 20-17, to start the season 3-0.

Hester's take: "I just remember that Lambeau Leap into the end zone. It was OK, because we were at home. Who gave the key block? Man, why you put me on the spot? I really don't like to single out anybody. A lot of guys gave key blocks."

Blocker's perspective: "Knowing a guy like Devin and how much of a competitor he is, you just want to help him out any way you can. Him being on returns, it added a little prestige to [special teams]. And I'm sure offensive linemen feel the same way when they have a great running back. I feel like on punts, it's hard, especially for a punter, because there's so much pressure when it comes to punting Devin the ball. Unless you punt it out of bounds ... I guess it's just whatever the coaches want. With Green Bay, you couldn't put anything pass them because it's a division rival and there's a lot of fuel in that fire, naturally. I didn't know what he was going to do once he scored. But that Lambeau Leap, when you get to the end zone ... it's hard enough to make it to the NFL, let alone score a touchdown. You have to be able to express yourself and have fun. That's what we did: We had a lot of fun blocking for him. To see him having fun and celebrating, it was just as much our touchdown in our minds as it was his. He did the vast majority of the work, but we took a lot of pride in being out there with him and helping him succeed."

-- Running back Garrett Wolfe, who threw the key block in the middle of the field on Hester's score.

Wednesday: Setting the tone.