Following yet another lack luster performance, the Ravens have decided to let go of its former Pro Bowl returner, Devin Hester, per the team’s official Twitter account.
We have waived WR/RS Devin Hester.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 13, 2016
Story to follow.
The decision was based largely off of Hester’s decision to not field a punt early in the Ravens game against the Patriots. The punt would roll down to the Ravens one yard line, where it was downed by New England. On the very next play, Kenneth Dixon was tackled in the end zone, giving New England a safety. This sequence also gave the Patriots the momentum they needed to build a lead against the Ravens.
After a Michael Campanaro fumble against the Saints in the preseason, the Ravens return game seemed to be in flux. The Ravens signed Hester in an attempt to put a formerly elite option returning kicks and punts. The Ravens, as well as its fans, believed Hester could provide a jolt to return game similar to one brought by Jacoby Jones.
Hester never panned out however, making any number of bad reads on kicks/punts, and flat out seemed scared of catching the ball. His decisions to make fair catches in weird situations, as well as failing to provide much explosiveness when making returns proved a major detriment to the Ravens offense. The already struggling unit was not aided by consistently poor starting field position.
Campanaro, who has been on the Ravens practice squad since being resigned this season, was promoted to the active roster in a resultant move according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. (Zrebiec writes that there is no word of a corresponding move, but Campanaro’s promotion was announced before the release of Hester, which is the corresponding move)
Ravens are promoting Michael Campanaro to active roster. No word yet on corresponding move.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) December 13, 2016
Campanaro will likely get every opportunity to be the starting returner. Campanaro looked to have the job in hand in the preseason before his fumble, and will hope to regain his early preseason form.