BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Count the greatest punt returner in the history of the NFL, Devin Hester, as a fan of the best young punt returner in the game today, Detroit Lions rookie Jamal Agnew.
Hester has an NFL record 14 punt-return touchdowns and 19 total return touchdowns over an 11-year career. He will be in the conversation for the Hall of Fame when he's eligible for the ballot in a few years.
As a rookie, Hester averaged 12.8 yards per return and scored three touchdowns on his way to a Pro bowl and first-team All-Pro nod. He also returned two kickoffs for scores as a rookie in 2006 with the Bears.
Agnew averaged an NFL-best 15.4 yards per return as a rookie in 2017, and scored twice in 13 games. Like Hester, he was also named first-team All Pro as a rookie.
"It's very rare for a rookie like that to be All-Pro," Hester said of Agnew. "You really don't see that happen. To come out and set a tempo that he did as a true rookie, it's an honor."
Hester's rookie season with Chicago in 2006 was terrific, but his second year was even better. His punt-return average jumped to 15.5 yards per return, and he returned four punts for touchdowns and two more kickoffs in 2007. He was a Pro Bowler and All Pro his second season too.
Can Agnew be even better with a year now under his belt? Hester hopes so.
"I hope he continues to make the plays he's been making," Hester said. "Hopefully, his future keeps moving forward."