Since Hester started with the Bears, he's been known as a feared threat in kickoff and punt returns. Last week, he showed it again with a dazzling performance that earned him the NFL Special Teams Play of the Week.
But the return touchdown, that elusive score that happens so rarely in football, is where Hester has made his name. 13 times, he has broken through the right hole, found the right gap, or been the recipient of a crucial block. From there, he uses his speed to get to the end zone. It's a moment unlike many other in sports because it's both expected and unexpected. Fans know that any time Hester is in the backfield, magic is possible, but the moment that he breaks free still is chill-inducing.
It's along the lines of a grand slam in baseball. Conditions have to be just right for it to happen, and it is an instant game changer. Lou Gehrig had the most in baseball with 23. Another Chicago legend, Ernie Banks, had five grand slams in one season and shares that record with Albert Pujols. With just one more return touchdown, Hester can share that same rarefied air.
The crazy thing is that if Hester breaks the record tonight, or next weekend against Philadelphia, or any other time this season, he's just getting warmed up. Brian Mitchell currently holds the record, and it took him 13 seasons to get there. Hester just turned 28 and is in his fifth season in the NFL. How many more can Hester get?