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Tuesday, December 21, 2010
NFC North High Energy Player of the Week

By Kevin Seifert

NFC High Energy: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

A look at a player who gave his team a significant boost in Week 15.

Devin Hester is 28 years old.

The Chicago Bears receiver/returner hasn't yet completed his fifth season in the NFL.

Devin Hester
Chicago's Devin Hester returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown Monday night.
And already he's the first two-time winner of the NFC North's High Energy Player of the Week award.

Oh, and he's now the best special-teams player in the history of the league as well.

With a 64-yard punt return Monday night at TCF Bank Stadium, Hester broke Brian Mitchell's NFL record for the most career kickoff/punt returns for a touchdown. Hester now has 14 and, as he said late Monday night, the party is not over.

"It's gonna be plenty more," Hester said. "It's gonna be a lot more than this. I guarantee you that."

Hester grew emotional while speaking to reporters, noting his history as a college player without a position and then how consistent the Bears' special-teams blocking has been over the years.

"Everything I'm thinking about, it's coming to me," he said. "Coming out of college, coaches told me I wasn't gonna be nothing but a kickoff and punt return dude. I wasn't gonna ever earn a position in the league. ... But I'm here today to say that I am a kickoff and punt returner, but at the same time, the best to ever do it. I'm glad that they said that because right now, I can say today that Chicago Bears are the best punt return team that would ever do this."

I wonder if Hester's emotion also emanated from his return to prominence after a two-year slump that called into question his future as a player. It's now long forgotten, but Hester went cold in 2008 and 2009 after 11 scoring returns in his first two seasons. But in 2010, Hester has now returned three punts for touchdowns and has a robust 35.2-yard average on 11 kickoff returns.

He's back.

He's indisputably the best.

And there is more to come.