If you watched the New England Patriots’ 30-23 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, you’re probably well-aware that Bill Belichick could use a punt returner. The Patriots had a world of problems on special teams, the biggest of which was the continued struggles of rookie Cyrus Jones.
Well, it just so happens the Ravens released arguably the greatest return man in NFL history Tuesday, inevitably leading to speculation over whether the Patriots will consider making a phone call.
The Ravens waived return extraordinaire Devin Hester midway through his first season with Baltimore. Hester, who turned 34 last month, didn’t live up to his All-Pro résumé with the Ravens, fumbling five times in 12 games and failing to return any kicks or punts for touchdowns.
Hester’s best days might be behind him, but there’s no denying he once was a game-changer. Hester has 14 punt return touchdowns and five kick return touchdowns in 156 career regular-season games, and some Patriots fans — as well as some pundits — can’t help but wonder whether he could recapture some of that magic in New England.
Hester, a four-time Pro Bowl pick, spent his first eight seasons with the Chicago Bears and established himself as a dynamic returner capable of swinging momentum at the drop of a hat. He then spent two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before landing with the Ravens on a one-year, $4 million contract in September.
Thumbnail photo via Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports Images