Brian Mitchell is one of the top return men in the history of the league. He currently holds the record for most returns for TDs at 13. It is his records that Devin Hester is likely going to obliterate in the next year or two. Mitchell recently talked about Hester.
Mitchell, who does radio and TV work in Washington, where he spent 10 of his seasons with the Redskins, said he'd even go to watch Hester play if he was on the verge of tying his record, and congratulate him for doing it.
When it will happen, of course, is hard to predict. Likely next season sometime, even though Hester is now running into what Mitchell said he faced all through his career: the ball being kicked away from him.
"Even my last two years people were trying to directional kick," said Mitchell, who also played three seasons with the Eagles and one with the Giants. He returned to Washington to sign a one-day contract and retire in 2005.
His one bit of advice to Hester is to use some gamesmanship when punters try to angle it away. Study the kickers and counteract their tendencies.
"Move a little bit. Once you learn all that, play with their minds," Mitchell said. "You can make them shank."
Mitchell sees similarities between Hester and himself, at least from the way they approach kick returns.
"I was the same, but he's faster than me. He doesn't do a lot of dancing around. He doesn't lose yardage. He's always going straight ahead."