The Pro Bowl will no longer include kickoffs starting with this season’s game, and that makes Devin Hester just a bit upset.
The NFL announced several changes to its annual all-star game Wednesday, which most notably includes that teams will now be selected by captains in a fantasy-style draft instead of the traditional AFC versus NFC format.
But Hester, who is the kick returner for the Bears, is a lot more concerned with another change — the game will no longer include kickoffs. Instead, the ball will be placed at the 25-yard line at the beginning of quarters and after scoring plays. And because of the change, kick returners will no longer be voted into the Pro Bowl.
And that has clearly struck a chord with Hester.
“If you are taking the returner out of the Pro Bowl, you’re taking two positions out.” Hester told the Chicago Tribune. “That will suck for me. They are trying to change up the whole game of football and they’re messing with people’s jobs and lives.”
Hester would have been a likely selection to get back to the Pro Bowl if changes weren’t made. He’s made three Pro Bowls as a kick returner during a seven-year career that has seen him break multiple NFL return records, including the most combined kick and punt returns for touchdowns (17).
“That was one of my goals for this season,” Hester said of making another Pro Bowl. “I won’t make the Pro Bowl. They can’t do that.”
Maybe Hester can use the extra time to race cheetahs instead.