Lester Hayes
No. 37     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1955-01-22) January 22, 1955 (age 65)
Place of birth: Houston, Texas
High School: Houston (TX) Wheatley
Career information
College: Texas A&M
NFL Draft: 1977 / Round: 5 / Pick: 126
Debuted in 1977 for the Oakland Raiders
Last played in 1986 for the Los Angeles Raiders
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Interceptions     39
INT yards     572
Touchdowns     4
Stats at

Lester Hayes (born January 22, 1955) is a former professional American football player for the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League.

Hayes was commonly referred to as "the Judge" and also as "Lester the Molester" because of his Bump and run coverage.[1] A big Star Wars fan, during pregame interviews for Super Bowl XVIII he declared himself the "only true Jedi" in the NFL.[2] He was also known for using Stickum before it was banned in 1981 in a rule bearing his name. He had a distinct stance, as exemplified on his photo on the Raiders' home page,[3] crouching very low when facing the opposing wide receiver.

In college, he became an All-American Safety at Texas A&M. Hayes was converted to cornerback after being drafted by the Raiders in 1977. Hayes helped lead the Raiders to two Super Bowl wins (1980, 1983), and was a five-time Pro Bowler (1980–1984).

He was known as one of the greatest shutdown cornerbacks in NFL history. His best performance was probably in Super Bowl XVIII. He had only one tackle, but that was because he so effectively covered Charlie Brown and Art Monk that Joe Theismann hardly threw to the left side of the field.[4]

In 1980, Hayes led the NFL with 13 interceptions and was named AP Defensive Player of the Year and the NEA Defensive Player of the Year. He retired after the 1986 season with a total of 39 interceptions, a Raider record shared with Hall of Famer Willie Brown. He is eligible for enshrinement in the Professional Football Hall of Fame, and in 2007 was chosen amongst 26 semi-finalists.

Hayes was a lifelong stutterer until well into his professional career. He tended to stay quiet, rather than draw attention to his condition. For this reason, he was often looked upon as not very smart, but after successful treatment, people "couldn't shut him up," according to former Raiders coach John Madden, and it was revealed that Hayes was an articulate, intelligent man.

Hayes currently lives with his wife in Modesto, California.


  1. "Video". CNN. October 5, 1981.
  2. Super Bowl by the Bay, p.51, (c)1984 by Bohn & Bland Publishers, Inc.
  4. McGinn, Bob (2009). The Ultimate Super Bowl Book. Minneapolis: MVP Books. ISBN 978-0-7603-3651-9.

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