Late Tuesday the Seattle Seahawks made additional roster moves on special teams, after the change at long snapper following Nolan Frese’s ankle injury, bringing in return specialist Devin Hester, according to reports. Hester, a wide receiver with the Chicago Bears from 2006-13, broke the NFL’s career return touchdown record during a stint with the Atlanta Falcons in 2014 and spent most of 2016 with the Baltimore Ravens before he was waived last month.
To make room for Hester, Seattle apparently released undrafted rookie defensive back Tyvis Powell. Powell was only active for eight games in 2016. Powell acknowledged the move with a post on Twitter.
It's all love for the @Seahawks are u kidding me! They gave me an opportunity to live my child hood dream. I'm forever grateful for that.— Tyvis Powell (@1Tyvis) January 4, 2017
No doubt some fans will be disappointed to lose the prospect Powell, if he signs elsewhere, but acquiring Hester fills a need after Tyler Lockett broke his leg two weeks ago. Paul Richardson has been undistinguished in relief averaging 21 yards per kick return and, Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers, Richard Sherman looked uncomfortable returning punts, plus surely the team doesn’t want to place its star cornerback in harm’s way.
However, Hester is 34 years old and clearly declined from his three-time All-Pro self. Hester averaged 7.2 yards per punt return for Baltimore and a serviceable 24.5 yards returning kicks, but he also fumbled five times and the Ravens publicly blamed his “mistakes” during their game against the New England Patriots in their announcement when they waived him in December.
Assuming Hester gets action Saturday against the Detroit Lions, it will be just his third playoff appearance in his 11th NFL season and perhaps his last opportunity to collect a championship. As a rookie, Hester returned a kickoff for a touchdown to open Super Bowl XLI but the Bears failed to beat the Indianapolis Colts.