With Devin Hester officially released by the Atlanta Falcons, the door is now wide open for rookie wide receiver Devin Fuller.
Speculation has been ongoing all offseason in regards to Hester’s future, but now it has become clear. A day before the Falcons’ first training camp practice, the legendary return man has been released.
One Devins loss is another’s gain. Rookie Devin Fuller, selected by the Falcons in the seventh round of April’s draft, will now have a great opportunity to take on the return duties. It might be his best shot of making the 53-man roster at the end of camp.
Fuller is a project at the wide receiver position and is unlikely to earn many snaps in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and he will be forced to compete for a roster spot on special teams.
Fuller’s biggest strength is his lightning speed. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash and has experience returning both kickoffs and punts. Last year, he returned 17 kickoffs at UCLA for 411 yards.
It was unclear whether the rookie would be able to beat out Hester as the number one returner, but it could have been a case of health. Fuller missed much of the Falcons offseason program with a hamstring injury but is 100 percent ahead of camp, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure.
"“Atlanta Falcons rookie wide receiver/kick returner Devin Fuller, who missed the majority of the offseason with a hamstring injury, said he’s fully recovered as he and the rest of the team are set to report for training camp on Wednesday.“I feel like I’m 100 percent right now,” Fuller told ESPN.com. “I’ll say that. … I feel great. I feel like I’m ready to contribute.””"
Maybe the Falcons were waiting for him to be cleared before making a decision on Hester. That’s speculation at this point.
In only a short time, Hester won over the fans in Atlanta for his dazzling returns. Nobody will forget his record-breaking punt return touchdown against Tampa Bay in a hurry. It sure helps the Falcons went onto win the game 56-14.
Hester will likely find work elsewhere in the league assuming he’s fully healthy. Even at 33-years-old, he can still produce at a high level.
Maybe a return to the Bears is in the future. Who knows? One thing is for certain: Atlanta will always welcome him with open arms.