Devin Hester Rookie Diary: Entry 1

Few rookies in the NFL have made more big plays already than Devin Hester. In just nine games as a pro, he's scored on punt returns of 84 and 83 yards in addition to that 108-yard missed field goal return for a TD last Sunday. In his first Rookie Diary for Bear Report, Hester talks about the friends and family he hasn't heard from in years and how the cold weather is affecting him so far.

Well, it was quite a week as far as I was concerned. Coming from a game that didn't go well against Miami to a win over the Giants was a very good thing.

I understood that I made some mistakes that I shouldn't have against Miami, and I worked all week to correct what I had done wrong. That's what can be difficult about being a rookie. There's a lot to learn, and no matter how hard you try, sometimes things don't go as planned. I felt bad, but my teammates helped me put that game behind me and go on from there.

When the kick came toward me in the end zone during the last game, I waited a while to see where the Giants defense was going to be on the field. Hesitating like that works pretty well, at least the first time that you do it. The problem is that after you've been successful with that move once, teams tend to look for that move again, so it's something you just can't do that often.

I'd had a similar play when I was at Miami, and it also worked out well, so I was confident in what I was doing. It was a matter of picking up the blockers and heading to the right part of the field.

It all happens so fast when you're running down the sidelines heading for the end zone. There were a couple of great blocks that really made a difference in how things turned out. Our guys picked me up as I ran and cleared the way. I wasn't aware of the team shouting on the sidelines as I passed, but I saw that later in the films.

When you've had a run like that, it's really exciting. And to have the NFL record along with [Nathan Vasher], that's unbelievable.

When I came out of college to become a pro, I had hoped to be successful, but to have something like that happen my rookie year is more than I could have hoped for. My family and friends were really excited for me. I heard from people, friends from high school and even grade school, who I hadn't talked to in years. It seems that just about everybody either saw it on replays or heard about it.

I definitely heard from Deion [Sanders]. He's been sort of a mentor to me all along, and he's been keeping an eye on me. He was real happy about the play and encouraged me to keep doing things like that.

It's real exciting how all of this is turning out. My family's house got hit hard by Hurricane Wilma. We lost our car, a lot of our things, and most of the place we lived in. It was really important for me financially to make it into the NFL and to be successful here. Now I've been able to rebuild our house and give my family a nice place to live. So in addition to the personal satisfaction I'm getting from being here, I know I am helping my family, as well.

I can't predict what will happen against the Jets next week in New York. It will be strange to return to the same stadium and probably some of the same fans.

All in all, I was satisfied with the playing surface. I know now that it is a little soft, so I'll adjust accordingly. The crowd noise wasn't a factor at all. I was able to block that out. Hopefully the weather won't be too cold. We do have heaters on the sidelines, but when it's rainy and windy, it can be a little nasty out there.

Remember, I'm from Florida. I guess I haven't seen anything yet.

This is Devin Hester's first Rookie Diary for, but be on the lookout for more entries this season.

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