Devin Hester announced his retirement from the NFL last fall, and on Monday, signed a ceremonial one-day contract to officially retire as a member of the Chicago Bears. This was not an easy decision for the 35-year-old, who had to fight back tears while talking about saying no to football Monday at Halas Hall – Hester said the Philadelphia Eagles reached out to him after Darren Sproles suffered a season-ending injury last September. But Hester firmly remained retired, opting to spend more time with his family in Orlando. And with Hester officially out of the game, it raises this question: Does he retire as the last great return man in NFL history? He changed the game, said former teammate Matt Forte, who also signed a ceremonial one-day contract to retire with the Bears on Monday.
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But increasing touchbacks is an imperfect solution, as many around the league have pointed out, as some players may run at Womens Stephen Johns Jersey half-speed thinking there will be a touchback while others are still going full speed in case there isn’t. While the NFL hasn’t considered banning kickoffs yet, it’s entirely fair to wonder if they’ll still be part of the sport’s highest level in the next five years. And that doesn’t sit well with Hester. It’s one of the key aspects to this ballgame, man, Hester said. This is football.
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Releasing Dez Bryant to free up $8.5 million in cap space was something the Cowboys needed to do鈥攐ver the past few seasons, Bryant has not shown the explosiveness or consistency he displayed once upon a time. Still, the move leaves a rather large void at the top of Dallas’ receiving corps. Former Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns is a quality addition, but he’s more a second outside receiver who can be great in the slot, especially in the red zone. Terrance Williams struggles with consistency, and Cole Beasley is a slot guy.
If it’s speed and dynamism the Cowboys want with their top receiver, Courtland Sutton could provide that. He brought in 76 receptions for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016, following that with 68 catches for 1,085 yards and 12 scores in 2017. A physical receiver with better-than-average speed in short spaces and the ability to fight back against aggressive cornerbacks, Sutton potentially presents the kind of presence Bryant once did.
When the Lions signed veteran back LeGarrette Blount to a one-year, $2 million contract in March, new head coach Matt Patricia (who watched Blount carve up enemy defenses from 2014 through 2016 while he was on New England’s coaching staff) found it hard to contain his excitement.