By Dre McClendon
The Falcons have released another high-profile player heading into the 2016 season, releasing wide receiver/returner Devin Hester on Tuesday. Many fans were split on the decision, some felt he had one more good year left, others felt it was best to release a player whose injuries and rule changes in the return game made him virtually ineffective.
There was always a saying that floated around the NFL, “Do Not Kick To Devin Hester”. From his exploits at the University of Miami to the being drafted by the Bears, Hester established himself as one of most dangerous return men in NFL History. Teams would literally kicked the ball away from him and if he somehow got his hands on the ball and a crease you can pretty much cancel Christmas. He single-handedly changed field position just by being on the field and people who would usually go to the bathroom during change of possession would literally hold it so they wouldn’t miss any magic that Hester could possibly make on an electrifying return.
When Devin Hester signed with the Falcons in 2014, there was a lot of excitement among Falcon fans. His impact was immediately felt in Week 3 of the 2014 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when he scored on a 62 yard punt return for his 20th career touchdown return, breaking the record for non-offensive touchdowns he shared with Deion Sanders. 2015 was a down year for Hester, as a toe injury sidelined him for majority of the season. Releasing Hester will save the Falcons a little over 3 million in cap space.
Many Falcon fans will tell you they loved and appreciated what Devin Hester has brought to the team. While he is no longer with the team, all of us as fans wish him the best on this endeavors.
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