Is Cordarrelle Patterson actually the best return man in Bears history?Josh De Lucaon June 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Is ex-Bear Cordarrelle Patterson actually a better kick returner than all-time Chicago Bears great Devin Hester? At first, this question sounds ridiculous. Hester is widely known as the best returner in NFL history.

Just this past year, Hester was eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, Devin wasn’t selected. Many fans voiced their opinions and frustrations on social media when the news broke.

So, how could NFL journeyman Cordarrelle Patterson possibly be a better kick returner than Devin Hester? Well, here are the statistics.

Return-wise, Devin Hester took an NFL record 20 kicks back for touchdowns in his career. However, 14 of those returns came on punts. This means that only 5 times in Hester’s career did he end up taking a kickoff return to the endzone (one of his scores is listed as neither a punt nor kick return because it was on a missed FG).

Could Cordarrelle Patterson actually be the Chicago Bears’ best return man ever?

Cordarrelle Patterson already has 8 kick return touchdowns in his career and at 31 years old, he could still have a few productive seasons in him. When you dive deeper into the statistics, it gets even more competitive.

Patterson already has the edge with 3 more kick returns for TDs, but he has also done it on 38 fewer returns than Hester had in his historic career.

That’s not all. Over Patterson’s career, his return average is at 29.4 yards per attempt. With Devin only averaging 24.9, this puts Patterson almost a whole 5 yards ahead of Hester on average.

In almost every kick return statistic that there is, Patterson dominates in. On his 38 fewer attempts, Patterson already has over 200 more kick return yards as well. Even if you want to look at the longest return, Patterson has returned 5 kicks longer than Hester’s long of 98.

If you look purely at statistics, you could easily make the case that Patterson is the better kick returner. However, Hester’s legacy and his “extra gear” is what made him special.

Hester is obviously the better punt returner throughout his career. He has the most punt return touchdowns in NFL history with 14. Patterson has only lined up to even catch a punt just one time in his career. It’s very unlikely that Patterson would be anywhere near 14 punt returns if he got the opportunity but we never will know.

Cordarrelle Patterson has been very overlooked his entire career from a return standpoint. Award-wise, Patterson has been named to 4 pro bowl teams and 4 all-pro teams which is also almost identical to Hester’s awards but he isn’t mentioned in the same conversation as him.

With all the awards and statistics, it is very tough to say that from purely a kick return perspective, Patterson doesn’t have the edge. Cordarrelle probably has a few more good seasons in the tank and it’s going to be very exciting to see where he ranks in terms of all-time return men when his career is over.

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