PLAYOFF WATCH 2017: Seahawks sign Devin Hester
The Vince Lombardi Trophy. (By D. Orlando Ledbetter/DLedbetter@ajc.com)
Good morning and Happy New Year! This is Playoff Watch 2017, the early buzz in NFL playoffs.
Seattle signed former Falcons returner Devin Hester to help re-start their return game on Wednesday.
Hester, 34, played for the Falcons in 2014 and spent most of 2015 on injured reserve before being released. In 2014, he lead the league with 45 kickoff returns for 1,128 yards and was named the Pro Bowl.
The Falcons will face No. 3 Seattle (10-5-1) if the Seahawks can defeat No. 6 seed Detroit (9-7) on Saturday. Atlanta’s divisional round game is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 at the Georgia Dome.
If Detroit beats Seattle, they would play No. 1 seed Dallas (13-3) and the Falcons would face the No. 4 seed Green Bay (10-6) vs. No. 5 seed New York Giants (11-5) winner.
Hester spent most of the 2016 season with the Baltimore Ravens. He played in 12 games before Baltimore being released. He averaged 24.5 yards on kickoff returns and 7.2 yards on punt returns while with the Ravens and did not add to his NFL-record total of 20 return touchdowns.
Seahawks returner Tyler suffered a broken tibia and fibula in his right leg in the 34-31 loss to Arizona on Dec. 24. Defensive back Richard Sherman returned punts in the regular season finale, but was under orders to just catch the ball. Former Falcons wide receiver J.D. McKissic and receiver Paul Richardson returned kickoffs.
Devin Hester pays homage to Falcons Hall of Famer Deion Sander as he returns a punt 62-yards for a touchdown – marking his 20th return for a touchdown and breaking the all-time record set by Sanders back in 2014. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Sherman ran one for six yards and catch the other four as ordered by coach Pete Carroll.
Hester is the third-leading punt returner in NFL history with 3,695 yards and 11th all-time in kickoff return yards with 11,333 in a career that dates to 2006.
McKissic update. McKissic was a star of training camp and made the practice squad. He was elevated for one game (inactive) before being released. He had a kickoff return for 22 yards on his only kickoff return in what was the first game of his NFL career. “He did a good job,” Carroll told the Seattle Times. “He played a good football game for us. That’s the first time he played in a regular season, NFL game. He was very comfortable, competed really well, good decision making, handled the ball well. He did fine. We like that guy.”
Hebert supports Ryan’s MVP bid. NFL On TuneIn host and former Pro Bowl quarterback Kordell Stewart and his co-host Brian Webber spoke with former Pro Bowl quarterback and radio host Bobby Hebert about Matt Ryan winning the MVP this season.
Bobby Hebert Comments “Matt Ryan is the MVP”
Brian: “Where would you put Matt Ryan in the MVP Race?”
Bobby Hebert: “Matt Ryan is the MVP. I don’t know how you cannot give him the MVP with his consistency, what he’s been able to do, he’s deserving of the MVP. We all know Tom Brady only threw 2 interceptions, that’s ridiculous.
People being on the Aaron Rodgers bandwagon, how are you closing it out? But as far as from the beginning to the end, I think Matt Ryan should be the MVP. ”
Detroit announced that it plans to retain head coach Jim Caldwell. Not every one in the Motor City was happy about the move.
Giants rocked by Cruise Ship Gate. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. defended his decision Tuesday to party into the early morning alongside his fellow receivers after the Giants’ victory over Washington. They have been criticized for partying until at least 6 a.m. with Justin Bieber and Trey Songz on Monday, six days before the team’s wild-card game with the Packers.
“We were going to (Florida) to get our minds right,” Beckham told ESPN. “That’s what we we’re doing. I handle my business. I’m a grown man.”
Playoff Watch 2017 will appears Monday through Friday mornings.
SI.com breaks down the NFC Wild Card playoff matchup between the #5 New York Giants and the #4 Green Bay Packers.
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