The moment Devin Hester captured the hearts of Bears fans

The moment Devin Hester captured the hearts of Bears fans
March 6, 2014, 11:15 pm
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Scott Krinch

The moment Devin Hester was put on a national stage during his rookie year, he gave Bears fans a highlight they will never forget.

On Oct. 16, 2006 the Bears traveled to Arizona to take on the Cardinals and found themselves trailing 23-3 late in the game. The hopes of keeping their undefeated season alive seemed bleak.

"Players were looking with a puzzled look on their face," Hester told CSN when filming Bears Classics: "Night of the Ridiculous" last November. "You know, like we didn’t know whether to be mad or were we just confused, like how did we get put into this predicament to where we’re down 20 points at halftime. I don’t think it was more of an angry environment that was in the locker room, I think it was more of a confused and trying to figure out what went wrong, and it happened so fast. They jumped out on us quick and it was kind of shocking for us going into the halftime."

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But two defensive touchdowns put the Bears right back in the game.

And then the "Windy City Flyer" happened.

With 3:17 left in the game, Cardinals punter Scott Player dropped back to punt the ball to Chicago's rookie returner.

"I wasn’t surprised, I was young, a rookie," Hester said. "Nobody knew me. I hadn’t proven a lot to be feared to kicked to. I wasn’t surprised. I think they were just hoping to really kick it deep and kind of change the field position. The game is pretty much won on field position too, so I think they were just trying to kick it deep and kind of change the field position momentum. Little did they know that I was hoping for a return to pretty much showcase what I’m capable of doing."

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Hester showed the world what he was capable of. Hester caught the ball, sprinted up the middle of the field, and made several Cardinals miss -- including Player -- en route to an 83-yard punt return touchdown to clinch a victory for the Bears.

What came from that game wasn't just Hester's spectacular return, but also an unforgettable postgame quote from Cardinals head coach Dennis Green as he shouted, "The Bears are who we thought they were."

And does Hester think Green still thinks about him and his touchdown?

"Yeah," Hester said with a laugh and a smile.