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SCHOOLED with "The Professor" John Clayton

Can't get enough of the NFL? Get Schooled with “The Professor” John Clayton. Each week, 710 ESPN Seattle’s human database dives deep into a particular subject in and around the National Football League. In-depth analysis. Player interviews. Stories from a Football Hall of Fame career. Further your football education with new episodes each Thursday.
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Apr 25, 2018

Devin Hester announced his retirement on Monday by signing a one day contract with the Chicago Bears. He was clearly the best returner in his generation and may have been the best in NFL history. Many feel if there is a place for a returner in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, there should be a gold jacket waiting for him. But the timing of his retirement is interesting.

The NFL is holding a two-day summit in New York City to discuss the possibility of eliminating the kickoff return. Hester joins us on SCHOOLED with the Professor to get his thoughts on that possible change. Naturally, he doesn't like it, believing it takes too much excitement out of the game.

But here on the podcast, Hester goes into even more depth on what this could do to change the game. He discusses how it would take away so much of the value of great special teams players, the coverage guys who make a living trying to stop great returns and those blockers on returns who open lanes for the returner. He talks about the impact on kickers, and digs deep into what the returns meant for his Bears teams and how the mentality was to take the return and put the ball in position for the quarterback to be one first down away from setting up a score.

He had 19 returns for touchdowns during his career and those plays were electrifying. If the league goes away from kickoffs, fans would be missing some of the great excitement created by Hester.

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