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Are you sitting down, Titans fans? Hester nearly was yours

  • By Marc Sessler NFL.com
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Moments like the one Sunday -- when Bears All-Pro Devin Hester scorched the Carolina Panthers for a game-altering punt return for a touchdown -- came very close to happening in Tennessee, not Chicago.

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told the team's official website this week that while his team heavily scouted Hester out of Miami, the Titans very nearly snatched him up in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft.

"Devin was pretty prolific in college as a returner," Angelo said. "He came out early, and he really didn't have a defined position. If he did, he probably would have been a first-round pick. ... The Titans, who were picking ahead of us (at No. 45 overall), had him on the phone and were making flight arrangements, and then they changed their mind literally at the last minute."

That left Hester for the Bears at No. 57. And just six seasons later, Hester has surpassed Eric Metcalf as the league's all-time leader in punt-return touchdowns with 11.

The Bears, from the start, were charmed by Hester's rare but hard-to-categorize skill set.

"(Area scout) Mark Sadowski really did a great job of evaluating Devin," Angelo said. "Mark comforted all of us -- (coach) Lovie (Smith), (special teams coordinator) Dave Toub and certainly myself -- that there was no bust factor with Devin. Devin was going to be a special player."

No big deal, Tennessee. It's not as if your Titans had any use for the most electrifying punt returner in NFL history, especially considering that (burner and household name) LenDale White was available.

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