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Bears star Devin Hester made a statement 13 years ago; could it happen again?

Thirteen years ago — in this city, where he played collegiately and near where he grew up — the Bears star returned the Super Bowl’s opening kickoff. No one’s done it before or since.

The Bears’ Devin Hester returns the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl for a touchdown 17 years ago.
The Bears’ Devin Hester returns the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl for a touchdown 17 years ago.
Bloomberg BLOOMBERG NEWS

MIAMI — A smile stretched across Devin Hester’s face Saturday when asked about the best moment of his career.

Thirteen years ago — in this city, where he played collegiately and near where he grew up — the Bears star returned the Super Bowl’s opening kickoff. No one’s done it before or since.

“It was an opportunity to get my hands on the ball the first play of the game and make a statement for the Chicago Bears,” he said. “Just to show that we came to play ball and get the ‘W.”

Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub, who served in the same role with Hester’s Bears, is still amazed by it. Everyone wondered all week if the Colts would kick to Hester, he said.

Toub has talked to his own kick returner, Mecole Hardman, about trying to make history again in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“Telling him how special it would be,” Toub said. “Obviously it’s not going to happen. But you never know.”

Hardman, who called Hester “the greatest returner of all time,” wouldn’t rule it out.

“Any time I touch the ball, I try to make a big play,” he said.