Devin Hester in Miami Garth Milan/Red Bull Photofiles

As time ran out on the Chicago Bears in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Redskins, Devin Hester could only wonder: what if?

What if Washington Redskins punter Hunter Smith didn’t intentionally kick five punts out of bounds to avoid the electrifying Hester's punishing punt returns? "He's a great player. We have a lot of respect for him," Smith said. Clearly, Smith was not only afraid of having to make a touchdown-saving tackle, but also afraid of one man changing the outcome of a game.

For Hester, all it takes is one touch of the ball to send Soldier Field into a frenzy and opposing sidelines into dismay. Anytime a punt is in mid-air, stadiums both home and away rise to their feet to see what kind of wizardry Hester will perform with the football in his hands and 80+ yards between him and the end zone.

"I've been in a Super Bowl where we kicked to him on the opening kickoff and he returned it for a touchdown," Smith said.

In other words, we have Hunter Smith to thank for the lack of Devin Hester highlights during week 7 of the NFL. Like any NFL player, Hester wants to make an impact, but can the man at least break a sweat please?

The Bears (4-3) travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills (0-6) in week 8. What if Bills Special Teams Coordinator Bruce DeHaven decides to send the ball Hester’s way? You better believe something electrifying is bound to happen. He might just break a sweat.

Listen to the crowd react to Hester’s 89-yard punt return in week 6 vs. Seattle:

 

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