Devin Hester Wants to Keep Kickoffs: You've Got to Let These Guys Play Football

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistApril 24, 2018

Devin Hester #17 of the Atlanta Falcons in action during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Sunday, December 14, 2014. (Marc Serota/AP Images for Panini)
Marc Serota/Associated Press

After carving out an 11-year career thanks in large part to his return skills, Devin Hester wants to see the NFL keep kickoffs as part of the game. 

Hester addressed the potential elimination of kickoffs during his retirement press conference with the Chicago Bears on Monday.     

"Kickoff and punt return is one of the key aspects of the quality of football," Hester said, per ESPN.com. "You've got to let these guys play football. It is what it is."     

Per ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, the NFL Competition Committee recommended eliminating kickoffs if the league can't make them safer. 

At the owners meetings in Orlando, Florida, in March, the league's medical department presented information revealing concussions are five times more likely to occur on kickoffs than on regular plays. 

Hester said the NFL should find ways to minimize injuries but that "you're bound to get hurt somewhere" when playing football. 

In his career with the Bears (eight seasons), Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Hester set an NFL record with 20 total touchdowns on special teams: 14 punt-return touchdowns, five kickoff-return TDs and one score on a missed field goal.

Hester last played for the Seattle Seahawks in the 2016 playoffs after spending the regular season with Baltimore.

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