Is Devin Hester a Hall of Famer? You bet he is

CHICAGO -- Devin Hester's credentials speak for themselves.

The Chicago Bears' most electrifying player since the late Walter Payton, Hester -- who officially called it quits on Tuesday -- deserves a spot one day in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame's mission is to honor the game’s greatest players. Hester is the greatest return man of all time. End of story.

Good luck telling the story of the NFL from 2006 to 2014 without mentioning Hester.

A former collegiate star at Miami, Hester, who was taken by Chicago in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft, was much-watch television.

And Hester, like a true showman, saved his best for when the lights were brightest.

As a rookie, Hester tormented opponents in prime time with a record-tying 108-yard touchdown return on a missed field against the Giants, an 83-yard game-winning touchdown in Chicago's thrilling come-from-behind victory in Arizona and a pair of kickoff-return scores versus the Rams.

Hester's signature moment, however, was returning the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI for a touchdown. That play is the greatest sequence in Bears history since the revered 1985 team hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The city of Chicago stopped when teams dared kick to Hester. Heck, the entire football world stopped when Hester went back for a return.

Fourteen career punt-return touchdowns. Five kickoffs returned for touchdowns. The missed field goal score in the old Meadowlands. That’s a Hall of Fame career in itself.

But Hester also contributed on offense at wide receiver, posting back-to-back 50-catch seasons for the Bears.

Some critics, however, used Hester's decent, but hardly spectacular, numbers at wide receiver to rip him.

While it's true Hester failed to develop into a true No. 1 receiver -- as the Bears suggested he could be -- he was still a big part of the offense. Keep in mind, Hester broke into the league as a cornerback.

How many converted defensive backs are held to the same standard?

Instead of mocking Hester's experiment at wide receiver, the mere fact he did so much in two phases should only strengthen his case for inclusion in Canton.

Hester never caused trouble. He was universally regarded as an excellent teammate. He was a three-time All-Pro, four-time Pro Bowler and a member of the NFL's 2000 All-Decade team.

And he's the most dangerous return man that ever lived. He's literally the best to ever do the job.

If Hester isn't Hall of Fame worthy, who is?