Devin Hester, most famously known as a Chicago Bear, is widely regarded as the greatest returner in NFL history.
But I think it’s becoming at least somewhat arguable that Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill could give him a run for his money.
Hill returned the Los Angeles Chargers’ first punt of the game last week for a touchdown, the fourth punt-return touchdown of his career. One of the more telling quotes came from Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who stressed that he had his team prepared for Hill but could do nothing about him:
“We’re going to watch the tape to find out exactly what happened, but we lost containment,” Lynn said after the game. “We know he’s [Kansas City WR Tyreek Hill] one of the fastest guys in the country and we lost containment. He made us pay. That’s something we’ve emphasized — we’ve worked. We knew Tyreek was going to be back there. He was back there last year. I don’t think he got 10-yards last year back there. We just didn’t execute today.”
Preparation didn’t matter.
“Orlando (Scandrick) was singled up on a gunner and went down and made a nice no-block,” Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub said, describing the play. “He got in this guy’s way so that Tyreek (Hill) could get started. That was an important block where he didn’t have a penalty but also made a block. I think the most important block though was Armani Watts. He went out and got him to the edge and blocked (Derek) Watt, number 34 and got him to the ground, which enabled 10 (Tyreek Hill) to get to the corner. We got another block by a rookie, (Tremon) Smith, 39, 56 (Ben) Niemann made his block and then we were just out running. (Marcus) Kemp finished the punter and it was all over. Usually, when 10 (Hill) can get to the edge, he just changes angles so much it looks like it’s easy. He’s an amazing kid.”
Then we asked Uncle Dave what kind of precedent the score set for teams around the league scheduled to play the Chiefs—and that’s when Hester came up.
“This is very similar to what we had with Devin (Hester) at Chicago,” Toub said. “They are going to try to hang the ball more, kick it out of bounds, but it’s hard to do that on a consistent basis. He is going to get his chances, but the main thing is, maybe we will create more field position just by having him lined up in there. It’s a good thing for us.”
I’m not sure Hill will ever reach the status of Hester when it comes returning, as Hill is tracking to develop into much greater a complete player than Hester.
But if it were possible to isolate the two, I believe Hill would certainly be right there.
Three seconds on the clock, down six in the Super Bowl. Kick return. Who do you want returning the football?
This poll is closed
Devin Hester in his prime