Devin Hester turned in some very memorable returns and big plays during his debut 2014 season in Atlanta, and regardless of what happens from here in his career, he'll go down as one of the greatest kick and punt returners in NFL history. I preface what's to come with those glowing words because I don't think Devin Hester is going to be in Atlanta for the 2016 season.
Devin Hester faces 3 to 6 months of recovery after surgery. https://t.co/YLR4oZnhls— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) January 18, 2016
Read the whole piece, because it gives you the sense that Hester badly wanted to return but was not close to being his usual self, which jibes with what we saw on the field from him. As McClure notes, he was never utilized on offense.
That recovery time means Hester should be good for training camp, but he'll be working his way back as the team gears up for preseason. In an ideal world, the Falcons would happily eat his $3.833 million salary this year because Hester gives them a deep threat on offense and a true weapon on special teams, but this is a roster with legitimate holes and not enough cap space and draft picks to fill all of them. The $3 million they could save from cutting Hester may be worth more to the team than a returner who isn't a lock to be 100% by the start of the season.
Hester will land on his feet, regardless, and the team can always turn to the likes of Eric Weems to handle returns if they do decide to move on. This will be another interesting subplot to watch in an offseason that should be full of them.