Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Falcons bring in Hester for visit
By Vaughn McClure
The Atlanta Falcons are looking for help in the return game and could have a chance to sign one of the greatest of all time.
Former Chicago Bears standout Devin Hester, arguably the most electrifying return man in NFL history, is in Atlanta visiting the Falcons Tuesday, according to a source close to the player. The Bears opted not re-sign Hester, who turns 32 in November, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Hester previously told ESPN.com he had an interest in playing in Atlanta, where he'd be able to return punts and kicks inside the Georgia Dome. He has drawn interest from a number of teams and also expressed a desire to play at home in Miami.
The Falcons recently brought in another return candidate in Trindon Holliday but didn't offer him a contract. Holliday signed with the New York Giants instead.
Hester holds the NFL record for touchdowns scored on kickoffs and punt returns combined with 18. He set the Bears' single-game record last year with 249 kickoff return yards versus the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2. He finished the year with 51 kickoff returns for a league-leading 1,436 yards (27.6 yard average) with no touchdowns and 18 punt returns for 256 yards and one touchdown.
Whether the Falcons sign Hester is sure to come down to how much money he desires. There have been reports of him wanting between $3 million and $4 million per year. Hester earned a total of $2,107,523 last season.
The Falcons used Jacquizz Rodgers and Robert Alford on kickoff returns last season and Harry Douglas and Robert McClain on punt returns. They ranked 20th on punt returns and 10th on kickoff returns.