Devin Hester will obliterate return records before he's done

Now that Devin Hester has the NFL record for combined return touchdowns, where will his mark stand when he is finally done playing?

The Chicago Bears’ star returned a Chris Kluwe punt 64 yards for a score Monday night at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, helping propel his team to a 40-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. It was the 14th touchdown of his career, not counting the 108-yard return of a missed field goal he had vs. the New York Giants and the opening kickoff he took back for a score in Super Bowl XLI vs. the Indianapolis Colts.

The score pulled him out of the tie he had been in with Brian Mitchell since an 89-yard punt return touchdown against Seattle on Oct. 17.

“I am totally excited for him. I love to see anyone bring that kind of excitement to the return game,” Mitchell said. “It’s great for the game for special teams to get this kind of recognition. I’ve been saying since Devin was a rookie one day he would have the record. I knew he would. Now, there are plenty more touchdowns for him to go after.”

Hester scored five touchdowns as a rookie in 2006. He improved on that with six the next season and then went through a scoreless drought in 2008 and 2009 that frustrated all involved.

“I am so much more comfortable this season,” he said. “Special teams is starting to click. You got guys who are busting their tail and there is a real passion from everyone for special teams. I don’t know what’s going on but it’s a real unit.”

Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, one of the great returners of all-time and a member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team, said earlier this year Hester could have 20 touchdowns before he’s done playing. He’s only 28.

What can you do, Devin?

“I am going to keep bringing it until I retire,” he said.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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