Devin Hester announces retirement from the NFL

Devin Hester, arguably the greatest returner in NFL history, called it quits today in a statement he made on Twitter.

“Good news: Commissioner Goodell, you can put the kickoff back at the 30. Bad news: Y’all will have to find a new favorite returner.”

Hester, 35, leaves the game with an NFL best 14 punt-return touchdowns. He also had five kickoff returns for scores and one touchdown return on a missed field goal. He made four Pro Bowls and was first-team All-Pro three times. Hester also saw playing time as a wide receiver, catching 255 passes for 3,311 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Nicknamed “Anytime” and “The Windy City Flyer,” he played eight seasons with the Chicago Bears, two with the Atlanta Falcons, and finished last year with the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks.

Prior to returning a punt or a kick, Hester would utter a simple prayer while touching his cleats and raising his arms in the sky.

“I just tell God to watch over me from the toes on my feet to the head of my crown,” Hester said to the Chicago Tribune.

His mother, Juanita Brown, Pastor of Anointed House of Prayer Ministries in West Palm Beach, FL, introduced the NFL star to the Christian faith.

“My mom taught me, No. 1, to have respect for God,” Hester said to the Chicago Tribune, “and to know that you can do all things through Christ.”

His mother’s training was later embraced by Hester when he had children of his own. He understood the role of being a father and spending quality time with his kids.

“I don’t know how much to stress how important it is to be in your kid’s life. Time is the most important thing you can give a kid,” Hester said in 2011 to the Daily Herald. “I just get a kick out of coming home and seeing how excited my kid is to see me walk in the door.”

Now a married man with two kids, Hester wants his oldest son to remember him for more than his NFL record 20 returns.

“I want D.J. to tell his friends in middle school and elementary and high school that I have the best dad ever. Not the superstar on the football field, but off the field I have the best dad in the whole wide world,” he said to the Daily Herald.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).