Bears great Devin Hester awaits his Hall of Fame fate Thursday


(670 The Score) Legendary Bears return man Devin Hester, one of the most electrifying players the NFL has ever seen, could soon seal his place in football immortality.

Hester is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2023, which will be unveiled Thursday night in Arizona. He's one of 15 modern-era finalists on the ballot.

Hester is a finalist for a second straight year after he wasn't selected in 2022, his first year on the ballot. He's the NFL's all-time leader in return touchdowns with 20, including 14 punt return touchdowns. Hester played eight of his 11 NFL seasons with Chicago, recording all but one of his return touchdowns for the Bears.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is voted upon by a 49-member selection committee, including one representative from each NFL city – with two from New York and Los Angeles – plus 17 at-large voters. The Chicago committee representative is Dan Pompei of the Athletic. There's no set number of candidates required for each class, but each candidate must receive 80% of the vote to be selected. Voting results aren't made public as they are for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The meeting to select the class of 2023 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame has already taken place over Zoom, and each of the finalists will wait for the results inside a hotel room Thursday. Jim Porter, the second-year executive director for the Hall of Fame, will knock on the door of the room of the chosen candidates and inform them of their election.

The class of 2023 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be first introduced at the NFL Honors ceremony, which begins Thursday at 8 p.m. CT.

The 15 modern-era finalists are Hester, Jared Allen, Willie Anderson, Ronde Barber, Dwight Freeney, Torry Holt, Andre Johnson, Albert Lewis, Darrelle Revis, Joe Thomas, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Reggie Wayne, Patrick Willis and Darren Woodson.

Thirty former Bears have been enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the most of any team in the NFL. The most recent former Chicago players selected were Jimbo Covert and Ed Sprinkle in 2020.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will induct its 2023 class in early August in Canton, Ohio.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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