The Seahawks pulled the best returner in NFL history off the street and into the blue and green just in time to face the Lions on Saturday in the Wild Card round.
The Seahawks signed kick and punt returner Devin Hester today to replace Pro Bowl returner Tyler Lockett in the playoffs. Lockett, of course, broke his ankle on a long reception on Christmas Eve against the Cardinals, and his absence was felt immediately.
While Hester doesn’t figure to be Russell Wilson‘s deep threat in the same way Lockett was this year, his sure-handedness and experience shaking tacklers amidst the chaos of an NFL kick or punt return could be an X-factor against Detroit.
Hester set an all-time record in 2014 with his 20th total return touchdown. Of his twenty special teams touchdowns, 14 of them were on punt returns, five were on kick returns, and one was on a blocked field goal attempt.
More from Emerald City Swagger
- Seattle Seahawks: To rest or not to rest, that is the question
- Washington State Football: What you need to know for 2018 Alamo Bowl
- Washington Basketball: 3 takeaways from Huskies win over Sacramento St.
- Seattle Seahawks: 12s still waiting to exhale
- Seattle Seahawks: 4 Takeaways from 26-23 Loss to the 49ers
Those of you who, like me, cringed when watching Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman try to return kicks, should rejoice. Not only is Hester the best kick returner probably in the history of the NFL (assuming the goal of returning kicks is to score touchdowns), he’s an extra body whose only purpose is to return punts and kicks. Sherman won’t have to risk injury trying to not die as a returner and focus on covering his old teammate, Golden Tate this weekend.
Hester doesn’t have to take one back to the house to be a valuable signing for the Seahawks, who scooped him up after the Baltimore Ravens cut him this season. Hester hasn’t scored a return touchdown since he set the record for return touchdowns in 2014, but he’s shown the incredible speed and elusiveness in spots this season with the Ravens, and he’ll be a welcome addition to the Seahawks ahead of their Wild Card matchup with the Lions.
And he might take one back to the house, who knows?