The NFL might have quietly said goodbye to one of its all-time greats Saturday night.
"I told my wife that this is pretty much my last year," Hester said, via comments distributed by the Seahawks. "I was hoping for a run to the Super Bowl. The only thing that I left out of this game is walking away without getting a ring. It's tough."
Should this be it, the 34-year-old will go out third all-time in punt return yards (3,695) behind only Brian Mitchell and Dave Meggett. He's currently second among active players in kick return yards, behind just Darren Sproles and is 11th overall. He currently holds the NFL record for career punt return touchdowns with 14.
Hester certainly looked like he had more in the tank against the Falcons. On Saturday, he had five kick returns for a total of 194 yards. He also had an 80-yard punt return called back on a holding penalty.
A second-round pick in the 2006 draft, Hester will go down as one of the most feared special teams players in NFL history. He is still the only player to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown in Super Bowl history, a fitting achievement that underscored an especially dangerous rookie season. Special teams coordinators everywhere can sleep just a little bit better knowing that he isn't on the opposing sideline anymore.