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Devin Hester chosen as Hall of Fame semifinalist


Former Bears star Devin Hester on Tuesday was named one of 25 modern-era semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2024.

Hester was selected as a finalist in each of the last two years but has not yet been voted in.

Hester played eight of his 11 NFL seasons with the Bears. The most prolific return specialist in league history, he holds NFL records with 19 kick-return touchdowns, 14 punt-return TDs and 20 return touchdowns, which includes punts, kickoffs, missed field goals, fumbles and interceptions.

Selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Miami, Hester was voted to three Pro Bowls, won 13 special teams player of the week awards and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

Former defensive end Julius Peppers, who spent four of his 17 NFL seasons with the Bears from 2010-13, is also among the 25 semifinalists. Peppers ranks fourth in league history with 159.5 career sacks.

The 25 semifinalists will be pared down to 15 finalists in January. The Hall of Fame's 50-person Selection Committee will then reduce the list to 10 and then to five. Each of the remaining five will be voted on, with an 80 percent "yes" vote required for enshrinement. That's also the case for former Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael, who is a senior finalist along with Randy Gradishar and Art Powell.

The Hall of Fame's Class of 2024 will be announced live Feb. 8 on the "NFL Honors" telecast prior to Super Bowl LVII in Las Vegas. The class will then be enshrined in August in Canton, Ohio.

The Bears have 30 individuals inducted in the Hall of Fame, the most of any NFL team.

Here's a list of the 25 modern-era semifinalists:

  • Eric Allen, cornerback
  • Jared Allen, defensive end
  • Willie Anderson, offensive tackle
  • Tiki Barber, running back
  • Anquan Boldin, wide receiver
  • Jahri Evans, guard
  • London Fletcher, linebacker
  • Dwight Freeney, defensive end
  • Antonio Gates, tight end
  • Eddie George, running back
  • James Harrison, linebacker
  • Rodney Harrison, safety
  • Devin Hester, punt returner/kick returner/wide receiver
  • Torry Holt, wide receiver
  • Andre Johnson, wide receiver
  • Robert Mathis, defensive end/linebacker
  • Julius Peppers, defensive end
  • Steve Smith Sr., wide receiver
  • Fred Taylor, running back
  • Hines Ward, wide receiver
  • Ricky Watters, running back
  • Reggie Wayne, wide receiver
  • Vince Wilfork, defensive tackle
  • Patrick Willis, linebacker
  • Darren Woodson, safety

Take a look at each of the 32 players in franchise history to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the most of any team in the NFL.