Hester was waived by the Ravens in December after 12 games with the team. The kick returner cleared waivers soon after and looked as if his next destination was Canton.
Before his release, Hester was averaging just 7.2 yards per punt return and had fumbled five times. He has not played in a postseason game since the 2010 NFC Championship Game as a member of the Bears.
Seattle was going to enter the postseason with major depth issues in the return game. Due to a season-ending injury to Tyler Lockett, the Seahawks have been left without a punt returner for the past week and change. Seattle resorted to All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman catching punts against the 49ers in Week 17; he returned one for six yards. After the game, Carroll said Sherman did "a great job," but implied they'd take a look at the position later in the week.
In Hester, Seattle may have found at the very least a stop-gap and at best a veteran threat.