Posted: 3:20 pm Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Devin Hester agreed to terms with the Falcons 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

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With the Falcons looking to spruce up their return game, they have agreed to terms with former Chicago Bears returner Devin Hester on a three-year contract today, according to the team.

Over the past weekend, there was a report that the Falcons had Trindon Holliday in for a visit. He was not signed to a contract and agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Giants.

Hester, 31, who played at the University of Miami, had told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that he would love to play for the Dolphins.
Hester led the league in kickoff return yardage last season and was used in a limited role as a punt returner.

Jacquizz Rodgers handled the kickoff return duties last season and Robert McClain was the main punt returner. The Falcons finished 10th in kickoff-return average (24.4 yards) and 20th in punts (8.2 yards) in 2013.

The dangerous Hester has returned 13 punts and five kickoffs for touchdowns over his career.

Hester, 5-foot-11. 190 pounds, was originally selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round (57th overall) of the 2006 NFL draft.

He appeared in 123 games, including 46 starts at wide receiver in eight seasons with the Bears.

Hester is one of the most prolific return men in NFL history.

He has totaled 3,241 yards on 264 punt returns and his 12.3 yards per return ranks fifth in the NFL history. Hester has also added 5,504 yards and five touchdowns on 222 career kickoff returns.

Hester, a three-time Pro Bowler, tied the NFL record for return touchdowns in 2013 recording his 19th career return score. Hester has scored touchdowns on 13 punt returns, five kickoff returns and one missed field goal return.

Last season, he led the NFL in total return yards with 1,692 and kickoff return yards with 1,436.

Hester was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team by the Associated Press for the 2000s.

He was the first player in NFL history to return the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl for a touchdown when he returned Super Bowl XLI’s opening kick 92 yards for a score.

Hester also set an NFL record with six return touchdowns in his rookie season and is one of six players in NFL history to return two kickoffs for scores in the same game on Dec. 11, 2006.

In addition to his return resume, Hester has also posted 217 receptions for 2,807 yards with 14 touchdowns during his career.

149 comments
GoTeam
GoTeam

I am very excited to see what we do in the draft. Pioli is an excellent evaluator of talent i pull the in all rounds of the draft and Dimitroff isn't afraid to pull got a the trigger. Pioli and Dimitroff make a good team. I expect Atlanta to move out of six and stockpile talent in need positions. I hope we build for the future. Hester,Solai,Jackson, Harry and our defense are only good enough for now.

LeftisnotRight
LeftisnotRight

9 million, 3 yrs, 2.5 million signing bonus..........he will be doing more than returning kicks and punts.

DawgNole
DawgNole

khd713:  ". . .  The best GMs, the truly successful ones, sign free agents not based on what they did last year, but on what they are going to do THIS year . . . ."

________________________

THIS year???

Hell, I'd be a "truly successful" GM, too, if I could predict the future.

LowcountryBulldawg
LowcountryBulldawg

Seahawks looking to add Jared Allen, Falcons sign Hester for 4million??? Not sure what Allens "walk away" price was but the Seahawks get it. Simply a ridiculous signing.

HotDawg
HotDawg

Congratulations Mr. Blank on your new engagement.

Is the ex available? Lol ....Bet she got a nice settlement.

gfw
gfw

"...he led the NFL in total return yards with 1,692 and kickoff return yards with 1,436."

Totally meaningless statistic, and should never be cited. The worst return man in the NFL could have the most total yards.  Could just mean his team got scored on a lot.

Mora-less-Petrino
Mora-less-Petrino

"If you listen to the fans, you will soon be sitting with them." - Gene Stallings

Athensdawg925
Athensdawg925

So no comments about Arther Blank are allowed ? I guess he has amenity. Why no comments on his engagement ?

khd713
khd713

Why does the headline link on the front page say "$4M deal", but the article makes no mention of terms? If we signed him to a $4 million deal for three years that's just nuts. Typical Dimitroff big-name free agent signing that will prove to be a huge waste of money, just like Umenyiora and Jackson. The prudent moves they have made so far shoring up both lines of scrimmage have worn the fingerprints of Scott Pioli. This move reeks of Dimitroff. I don't care if Hester led the league last year in every return category. The best GMs, the truly successful ones, sign free agents not based on what they did last year, but on what they are going to do THIS year. For players in the twilight of their otherwise successful careers, the final contract is a "coast-into-retirement-healthy-and-wealthy" plan. I don't care if it's Jerry Rice or Stephen Jackson; the result is always the same. It's just human nature. The only exception would be Peyton Manning, because he is just, well, exceptional. In baseball, where there is no salary cap, contracts like the one we are giving Hester are no big deal. It's just the owner's money, so who cares, right? Spend all you want to get whoever you want. But in football, deals like this one can make or break a team. By the end of the season we'll be ranking this deal right alongside Umenyiora and Jackson, and I'd be willing to wager a chunk of MY retirement money on it.

kreedham
kreedham

Everyone seems to forget.  Just because someone is signed doesn't mean they will be on the 1st game roster. And for those that got cut (Jerry and others) and resigned, it was for less money!  At least wait until the draft and see how the roster shakes out!  They'll know soon enough if Hester can still produce. 

doolie1
doolie1

great signing if below 2 mill per year...he can help on offense too in screens, reverses etc...hands aren't great but hey, does H Douglass have good hands and he falls down when he needs to be running north

tmc
tmc

Great article. It has everything in it EXCEPT the one thing everyone wants to know. 

HOW MUCH MONEY!!!

Because if they gave him anything over $1 million dollars, they are insane.

And when you waste cap space by giving small amounts of money to people you don't really need (P. Jerry, D. Hester... and who knows else), it keeps you from signing significant players that can actually help your team win. Hester might touch the ball 3-5 times a game. Jerry might, might play 5 plays a game. 
How about signing someone who will actually make everyone else better around him? Go get Alex Mack 
(Clev Center) and plug him into your most vulnerable position that protects your $100 million dollar qb!

UGH! the Falcons can be so freakin frustrating...        

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

Very productive player, but the Falcons didn't stink at this last year.  This is a good bit of money to pay for a slight upgrade.


That being said, teams fear Hester.  they have to plan around him and that makes the signing better than just stats alone. If he can be productive in the offense as well, then this is a steal.

Whiznot
Whiznot

The Falcons are the Anti-Patriots. When players are no longer productive, that is when the Falcons empty the bank. What a joke.

GoTeam
GoTeam

Dimitroff is always stuck in right now mode. When it comes to players that help long term defensively, it's a joke. Solai and Jackson are getting up there. Please build a solid defense that's gonna stick around. I don't care about a 31 year old return man. He returned one last year week 7? Go Asomuah, 

Saintacular
Saintacular

I am not as much of a Falcon hater as I use to be but I can honestly say that I like Coach Smith. This is just football... I get paid well so I do not get personal... please save the foolishness. We are only fans. Now.. I am a football fan first and a die hard WhodatNation member. We all want our team to win and of course beat the daylights out of each other. Falcons problem is in the quarterback and his limit and accuracy in throwing the deepball. Otherwise, with Julio and Roddy teams would catch hell if they had a Brees or Luck or Brady. Stephen Jackson was a big disappointment and I would caution the excitement for Hester. Did you guys notice that Hester, Osi and Jackson both came to Atlanta in the same fashion... meaning that they got very little interest from other teams despite having playmaking reputation. But the powers that be somehow think its a good way to make a splash to keep the excitement. With the man holes that need filling I would be upset if my team continued making bad decisions that look good on the shelf but not functional. Until the season start we won't know how all those choices will play out. FYI... I called the Falcons 2012 winning season as well as their bad 2013 season. Good luck and Whodatly yours... Saintacular

Dsyelxia
Dsyelxia

Is anyone else concerned that the Falcons are doing next to nothing to address the needs at offensive line? They signed a guy who was benched in KC and re-signed Mike Johnson who a year ago was battling Garrett Reynolds for the final spot. Did you catch that? Johnson was neck and neck with the worst OL on the team!

Drafting Greg Robinson will not be enough. This team needs to go get Alex Mack and draft at least two OL. If Cyrus Kouandjio is there in the 2nd round, get him.

tyger
tyger

Love Devin Hester!


Falcons bulk up 1st....

Add a lil' sizzle later....


Hester on the reverse...

Screen pass to Hester...

Hester on the slant...

Direct snap to Hester...


Oh my....

chicagosfinest
chicagosfinest

As a Chicago Bear fan that lives in Atlanta, now I FINALLY have a reason to root for the Falcons.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

At the end of the day, let's hope Hester doesn't get many opportunities in a game to get a kick return. If a team is kicking the ball to us, that means they've scored on us. So the less Hester gets on kick returns the better and the more punt return opportunities he gets the better meaning we've forced lots of 3 and outs

Intruder
Intruder

If he has still got it, look out. And he is four years younger than Drew Brees.

lowdownjj
lowdownjj

LOVE IT! Unless they were stupid enough to pay him the $4 mil/yr he was asking for (almostt SIX times the $ the younger, faster Trindon Holliday just got) BUT...even though he's on the wrong side of 30, the ol man still amassed the most total return yards and averaged top 10 in both punt and KO returns last year. So he will be an IMMEDIATE upgrade over our bunch that ranked 21st and 10th and not ONE TIME returned a punt 25 yards or more or had a KO return of at least 50 yards

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

In the mean time, the owners will vote to move up the kick-offs to the 40, further diminishing the number of returnable kicks and taking away as much as half of Hester's potential returns. Shrewd signing falcan'ts!

GEAUX SAINTS!!!

traderjoe9
traderjoe9

Hester was good last year and great in earlier years. Will he need a walker to get down the field this year? Just kidding of course but you got to wonder why we're spending on aged guys. I guess a sign that your GM has lost  confidence in his ability to identify up and coming talent is when he starts signing guys that were good once upon a time and hopes they can at least justify his GMship one more year by not embarrassing him too much on the field.

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

They are bringing in guys that are hungry and/or something to prove!  You never want to bring in a guy that just won a Super Bowl and is just looking for that pay day.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

Now maybe they spare us of the nepotism and get rid of the coaches son Robiskie....

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Athensdawg925  

Who cares about his engagement? I'm a whole lot more interested in how he runs this so-far-championshipless football team.

khd713
khd713

@kreedham  Fair enough, but I would bet the farm he'll be on the roster even if he bombs in training camp.

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

@tmc I feel your pain TMC.  Atlanta sports at its finest!  We never get the big names when they are considered big names.  We got Tony when he was older, we got Osi when he was older, Jackson, Who knows...probably Champ soon as well.. I guess Atlanta Falcons are playing the role of a retirement facility.  Step up and get some nads Dmitroff. We need young players and we need a defense most importantly.  We were in a lot of games last year but our defense really stunk it up for us. Not to mention that...uh....coughcoughterriblelinecoughcough... we had.  Atlanta sports teams always make these stupid decisions.  Playing Gattis in left last year in the playoffs is a great example of this stupidity that repeats itself in the ATL.

styymy
styymy

@Whiznot  You suck a reading comprehension. Hester led the league in kickoff return yardage last season. Sooo who would be the better option other than the league's leader... By the way he still runs a 4.3. Now if the Falcons can get proficient at blocking on kick-off since they sure as hell can't block for the quarterback,  this might just work out.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@Whiznot  Yeah because Hester is no longer productive. He led the league in Kick off return yards last season on grass. Shut up you f'king troll

BirdBeak
BirdBeak

@Saintacular   Jackson had no line to block for him last season so it is too early to say he can't be productive.

Saintacular
Saintacular

Sorry for the typos. I meant to say many holes..lol. Not man holes..lol

JChikara
JChikara

@Dsyelxia  I would get Kouandjio, but if not they may get Antonio Richardson some Tennessee in the second round, who would be a boost. 

KDinFL
KDinFL

@SeenThatB4  This is not college football genius.  In the NFL they bring the ball out of the end zone, smh.  That's thinking like an 'Aint's fan.

DewayneDixon
DewayneDixon

Not much of a life huh? Keep on trolling!

BeastOPS
BeastOPS

I think that guy was cut before the end of last season.

JChikara
JChikara

@Saintacular  I agree with you to an extent. I do believe that the Falcons should not have signed Hester, who is way past his prime, but the other signings are for guys who are in their primes and can fill some much needed holes. I'm surprised that the Saints let go of someone like Sproles and even Lance Moore but they still seem to always contend. Will be interesting to see who wins the division next year. Good luck to your Saints as well... 

KDinFL
KDinFL

@JChikara @Dsyelxia  He probably won't be there in the 2nd. H'e the 3rd best OT on most boards.  Start looking at a guard.  Maybe Martin from ND.