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Is Devin Hester worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement?

Moments after Devin Hester high-stepped his way to a record-breaking 20th career return touchdown on Thursday night, Ian Eagle -- calling the game for Westwood One -- excitedly referred to the Atlanta Falcons veteran as a "future Hall of Famer."

It was a thought-provoking description. Guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning -- those are safe figures for play-by-play guys to describe as certain Canton inductees. Had Devin Hester really reached that same plain?

First, the facts. Hester's 20 return TDs moved him past Deion Sanders on the NFL's all-time list. Sanders, of course, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Rod Woodson, next on the all-time list with 16 return scores, slipped on his gold jacket in 2009. Ronde Barber, fourth with 14 return scores, will have a very strong case when he becomes eligible in a few years.

That's fine company, but even Hester would admit he's an outlier in that group. Sanders was a dominant shutdown cornerback in addition to his return skills. Woodson's 11 Pro Bowl nods are the most ever for a defensive back. Barber was a five-time All-Pro cornerback and star of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history (the 2002 Bucs).

Hester had some decent receiving years with the Chicago Bears and appears to have a healthy role with the Falcons' offense this season. But he's never sniffed a 1,000-yard campaign. He was never a true No. 1 receiver in Chicago. He's the fourth receiver in Atlanta.

That begs the question: Are 20 big plays enough to get somebody into the Hall of Fame?

We know he has Primetime's support. Bears kicker Robbie Gould, a 10-year NFL veteran, said Hester is "maybe one of the greatest players I've ever played with of all time." Matt Forte, another former teammate, said Thursday's 62-yard return against the Bucs put Hester over the hump.

"He's Hall-of-Fame worthy now," Forte said, according to

Barring a late-career production surge, it still feels like a stretch to put Hester in Canton. Then again, a lot of people thought Ray Guy would be on the outside looking in forever.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps the Falcons' lopsided win over the Bucs and previews every other game in Week 3.

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