Ravens agree to one-year deal with veteran returner Hester


After failing to find an in-house return specialist to their liking this summer, the Ravens will now see if one of the greatest return specialists in NFL history has another good season left.
According to multiple outlets, general manager Ozzie Newsome has agreed to a one-year deal with four-time Pro Bowl return man Devin Hester, who worked out twice and took a physical for the team in recent days. The 33-year-old holds the league records for career return touchdowns (kickoffs and punts) and career punt return touchdowns.
Wide receivers Michael Campanaro, Keenan Reynolds, and Kaelin Clay entered the summer as the top candidates vying for the returner job, but Clay suffered a broken foot in mid-August and neither Campanaro nor Reynolds emerged as a reliable option. On Saturday, Campanaro was placed on injured reserve with a calf injury while Reynolds was waived.
Hester’s impressive résumé speaks for itself, but he is trying to come back from offseason toe injury and played in just five games with Atlanta last year, averaging 26.1 yards per kick return and 4.3 yards per punt return. Released by the Falcons in late July, Hester had missed just one game over his previous five seasons combined before 2015.
Hester, a second-round pick in the 2006 draft, spent the first eight seasons of his professional career with Chicago before spending the last two with Atlanta. He last made the Pro Bowl in 2014 when he averaged 25.1 yards per kick return and 13.3 yards per punt return — including one for a touchdown — while catching 38 passes for 504 yards and two touchdowns.
The Ravens hope Hester will finally bring some stability to a return specialist job that’s been a headache since Jacoby Jones’ disappointing 2014 season and subsequent release the following offseason. Last season, five different players registered punt returns while four different players returned multiple kickoffs.