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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Hester honored by Payton, MJ comparisons

By Nick Friedell

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Devin Hester wasn't feeling good last Sunday afternoon before the Lions game, but he didn't let an ankle injury and an illness stop him.

Devin Hester
Devin Hester's performance under adverse circumstances reminded some of Walter Payton and Michael Jordan.

Instead of sitting out though, Hester managed to return another punt for a touchdown and make a huge difference in the game -- again. In the process, he also reminded some Chicagoans of the performances of Michael Jordan and Walter Payton as they battled through illness at various points during their careers.

"That's what a lot of people were talking about," Hester said after Wednesday's practice, when asked about Jordan's famous "flu game" in the NBA Finals. "Michael Jordan and Walter Payton. They played [while] being sick It wasn't a thought in the back of my mind."

Hester, who has been the subject of a lot of Hall of Fame consideration and debate over the past few weeks, is just happy to have his name being mentioned with the other greats.

"It's an honor," he said of being mentioned with Jordan and Payton. "Those guys are elite players. I'm just working my way to get mentioned in that category."

So how sick was Hester before Sunday's game?

"Just been feeling sick all week," he said. "Had a fever of over 103. My tonsils were swollen. I had strep throat. I'm just feeling bad. I've been taking some antibiotics to try and get through it."

Hester admitted that he was a little calmer than usual before the game because of the illness he was dealing with.

"When you're sick, you're in a relaxing mode," he said. "You're really just living life up. Living it up. I wasn't stressed out about anything, I was just out there being regular."