'White Shoes' says Hester could have 20 career return TD's
When Billy “White Shoes” Johnson says the sky is the limit for Devin Hester and the NFL record books when it comes to returns, we’re talking the SKY.
Hester ended a more than two-year drought without a score last Monday night with a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown at Soldier Field in the Chicago Bears’ victory over the Green Bay Packers. It gave Hester 12 return touchdowns in his career (not counting a 108-yard return of a missed field goal and the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI) and leaves him just one return score away from tying Brian Mitchell for the all-time lead.
“The way he is going, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up with 20 touchdowns," said White Shoes, the return man for the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team."He's at a peak now where he just goes and he is in a zone. I'm sure he will be viewed as the best of all time, and rightfully so."
Hester is feeling confident about his return abilities again. He had an amazing beginning to his career with 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons but when the Bears developed him into a starting wide receiver, his production as a returner diminished. He was lacking confidence. Now, he’s feeling good about his role in Mike Martz’s scheme. He said he’s been in a groove since training camp. That’s good news for the Bears. Hester, who has scored a touchdown every 21.3 returns in his career (third best in NFL history for returners with eight or more touchdowns), had gone 102 returns without a score (64 punts, 38 kickoffs).
“Everybody who moved from being a returner to a receiver, two or three years later, they never go back to the return game," Hester said. "I am still doing it. I thank God for that. I am figuring out how to prepare myself for game situations. I know I am going to have to do some extra conditioning here and there so when I am out there I am ready. Being a returner, you have to have fresh legs. It's not easy.
"You can see from (Carolina's) Steve Smith to Santana Moss, who came into the league being great returners. When they mastered the receiver bit, it's hard to do returning. It's a tough process I hope I will get better at. I am starting to grasp the offense, and I can start giving a little bit back to the return game."
Giants coach Tom Coughlin has already advised rookie punter Matt Dodge to aim for the sidelines Sunday night.
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