Devin Hester ties NFL record for career TD returns

More rare than a Devin Hester return for a touchdown is a score by him on special teams in a loss.

Hester was forced to celebrate his place in the NFL record book after the 23-20 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday at Soldier Field. His 89-yard punt return in the fourth quarter tied him with Brian Mitchell at 13 for the most combined kickoff and punt return touchdowns in league history. The Bears are now 8-3 in games in which Hester takes a return to the end zone.

The score, sprung by a huge block by Earl Bennett on punter Jon Ryan, gave the Bears a chance with an onside kick with 1:54 remaining, but it failed.

Hester had a huge lane up the middle of the field, but the return called for him to swing wide left and he did that. His teammates provided a wonderful wall and he's now scored twice in the last four games.

"I'm not satisfied with tying (Mitchell's record)," Hester said. "I want to break it. I don't want to have two names up there. That might be a selfish goal but at the end of the day I want to make sure these 10 (blockers) have their names on the list with me."

Hester certainly looks to be in better rhythm with the 10 men in front of him on returns this season. He reached the record in 262 career returns. Mitchell retired with 1,070. The Bears are using Hester less offensively as roles for Bennett and Devin Aromashodu are expanded. He was on the field for 34 of the 59 offensive snaps a week after getting just 19 of 64 in a run-heavy attack at Carolina.

"When you have guys like D.A. sitting on the sideline, that hurt us," Hester said, "He's a great athlete and I love to see him out there. When he's on the field he makes plays. So I don't mind the way things are going now and it's going to keep me fresh as well."

Ryan complained of sore ribs afterward but said initial X-rays were negative. He had done a masterful job of keeping the ball away from Hester. But it just takes one.

"He's very dangerous," Ryan said. "You want to keep the ball away from him. I executed that last kick the way I wanted it but it just didn't work out for us."

Ryan said he saw Hester get tackled by two punters on film and wanted his chance. But he never saw Bennett coming.

"I wasn't trying to kill a guy," Bennett said. "I hope he is all right. I congratulated Devin on it and wish him many more. I know he is going to get a lot more."

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