Atlanta Falcons return man Devin Hester is at in interesting impasse in his career. He's done more than enough over a ten year career to solidify a spot in the Hall of Fame. At this point, Hester is the only player on the Falcons roster that's done that. Maybe Matt Ryan or Julio Jones will end up there eventually, but Hester presently stands alone. What's more, he hasn't had an easy road getting here.
Over a decade in the NFL, Hester has racked up 20 return touchdowns. Last night, in his first preseason game, Hester had a 59 yard return. And it wasn't just any 50+ yard return. He literally ran over a defender, breaking a poor tackle attempt. He then almost took it into the end zone. At 32 years old, one thing is clear: he's still got it. I wrote about Hester's adaptation to a new role in Kyle Shanahan's offense on Thursday. In short, notwithstanding his contributions on special teams, he's once again relegated to the tail end of the WR depth chart. As I mentioned in Thursday's article, that's not Hester's historical preference. So where do we go from here?
Because of some turf toe, Hester didn't play in the first preseason game. But he didn't miss a beat and is apparently still the same returner he's always been. Good news, to say the least. That said, he was only targeted once last night. He had zero receptions. Sure, it's just the preseason, but Hester was the viable third option last season. Now, if everyone stays healthy, he's the fifth option. (And that's only if we exclude Jacob Tamme and the rest of the tight ends.) For now, it is what it is.