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Falcons sign Hester to 3-year deal

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The Atlanta Falcons signed record-setting return specialist Devin Hester, the team confirmed Thursday. Financial terms of the reported three-year deal were not disclosed.

Hester, the NFL's all-time leader with 13 career punt return touchdowns and total kick return touchdowns (18), was not re-signed after eight seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Robert McClain led the Falcons with a 10.2-yard average on 19 punt returns last season, while Jacquizz Rodgers averaged 23 yards as the primary kick returner. By comparison, Hester holds a 12.3-yard career punt return average and 24.8 on kickoffs.

Despite turning 31 last November, Hester enjoyed a strong 2013 season with a 14.2-yard punt return average and 27.6 on kickoffs, both well above his career averages.

Including a 108-yard return off a missed field goal, Hester has 19 overall return touchdowns, tied with Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders for the most in regular-season history. Including his 92-yard kickoff return to open Super Bowl XLI, and Hester's 20 return scores including the postseason is an NFL record he holds on his own.

Hester, who had a career-high 57-receptions in 2009 and has 217 catches during his career, did not play offense for Chicago in 2013 after seeing his reception totals decline for four three consecutive seasons.

Hester is a three-time Pro Bowl selection (2006, 2007 and 2010).
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