Seattle Seahawks rumors have the team signing return specialist Devin Hester to replace the injured Tyler Lockett. Hester will be immediately available to play for the Seahawks against the Detroit Lions on Saturday (Jan. 7). A report by NFL analyst Jay Glazer confirms the rumors, giving the team a much-needed boost on special teams.
Tyler Lockett has been lost for the postseason due to injury, forcing the Seahawks to try several different players as punt returners. On Sunday (Jan. 1) against the San Francisco 49ers, All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman was used in his absence. The front office felt that it was time to add another player to the active roster, opening contract negotiations with Devin Hester.
Hester had been with the Baltimore Ravens but was released in mid-December. The report by NFL analyst Ryan Mink stated that “Hester has shied away from punts throughout the year, and has had ball security issues.” That might not still confidence in Seahawks fans, especially with the stakes that are at play this postseason.
In 12 games with the Ravens, Devin Hester returned 19 kicks for 466 yards, working out to an average of 24.5 yards per kick return. He also returned 25 punts for 180 yards, which is an average of 7.2 yards per punt return. The bad news is that Hester had five fumbles in those 12 games. Before he went to play for the Ravens, Hester spent 10 years between the Chicago Bears and Atlanta Falcons.
The big component of these Seattle Seahawks rumors is that Devin Hester has had a lot of success on punt returns in the past. During his first two seasons with the Chicago Bears, Hester returned seven punts for touchdowns. Over his 11-year NFL career, Hester has 14 punt return touchdowns and five kick return touchdowns.
Tyler Lockett suffered a broken leg against the Arizona Cardinals during a catch at the goal line. This has ruled him out for the rest of the year. For the past two seasons, Lockett has been the main guy on kick and punt returns for the Seahawks, putting the team in a difficult position as he begins rehabbing the injury. Without a backup on the roster to fill in on returns, the team had to sign someone like Devin Hester. Hester may come with risks, but he is a suitable option at this point in the season.
In 31 career games with the Seattle Seahawks, Tyler Lockett has 69 punt returns for 622 yards and a touchdown. He averages nine yards per punt return, eight times making a return of more than 20 yards. On kick returns, Lockett has made 56 for 1,458 yards and a touchdown. He averages 26 yards per kick return and once took one all the way back for a 105-yard touchdown. Lockett is routinely called one of the best return guys in the NFL by analysts, but he has also been valuable as a receiver for the Seahawks.
Details of the contract with Hester have not yet been revealed, but it is assumed that he will make the league minimum to play in the postseason. This will also make Hester eligible for postseason shares and bonuses, with those amounts increasing the further the Seahawks make it in the 2017 NFL Playoffs. Hester will now have a few days to work out and practice with the team before making his debut against the Detroit Lions.
Game time for the Seahawks vs. Lions is 5:15 p.m. PT on Saturday (Jan. 7). That’s not a lot of time to become familiar with his new teammates, but the Seahawks just need him to be confident during punt returns and to simply take care of the ball. Fans should expect these Seattle Seahawks rumors to be confirmed on Wednesday (Jan. 4) with a possible introduction of Devin Hester to the press as well.
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