University of Miami

Devin Hester released by Atlanta Falcons, NFL career in question

Miami’s Devin Hester breaks loose in a 2003 game against Temple at the Orange Bowl.
Miami’s Devin Hester breaks loose in a 2003 game against Temple at the Orange Bowl. HERALD STAFF

Devin Hester, considered one of the most exciting football players to ever come out of the University of Miami, was released by the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday.

Hester, 33, is the NFL’s all-time leader in punt returns for touchdowns with 14 in his 10-year NFL career – most of which coming with the Chicago Bears.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Hester also holds the NFL record with 20 return touchdowns.

According to ESPN.com, Hester missed the first 11 games of last season because of a toe injury. Hester had offseason surgery on the toe in January and had not participated in any official team activities.

“He passed his physical,'” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told ESPN.

"It was a football decision for us in the very end. Again, not to be evasive about it, we wish him all the luck. And we think it's best for the organization for us to move forward.''

Hester was a second round pick of the Bears in 2006; he left the Bears as a free agent in 2014 and signed with the Falcons.

 

When wifey has a lot to do and you're stuck with the kids. But you still putting work in. #lovemyboys

A photo posted by Devin Hester (@devin_anytime_hester_17) on

A graduate of Riviera Beach’s Suncoast High, Hester showed off his skills early on. In his first game with Miami in 2003, Hester returned a kickoff 97 yards against the Gators at the Orange Bowl.

In three seasons with the Hurricanes, Hester had six touchdowns off returns.

Hester averaged 24.9 yards per kickoff return over the past 10 seasons, with 24 going 40-plus yards. On punts, Hester averaged 12.1 yards with 51 going 20-plus yards and 21 going over 40.

Hester also caught 255 passes for 3,311 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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