Hayes was commonly referred to as "the Judge" and also as "Lester the Molester" because of his Bump and run coverage. A big Star Wars fan, during pregame interviews for Super Bowl XVIII he declared himself the "only true Jedi" in the NFL. 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, crouching very low when facing the opposing wide receiver.
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. During this time, he formed a partnership with Mike Haynes that has been considered one of the best in league history.
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.
Stickum is a sticky adhesive substance that was introduced to Hayes when he was a rookie in 1977 by Hall of Fame wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff. However, instead of just applying a small amount to his hands to help him hold on to the football, Hayes started slathering it all over his arms and even on his uniform, drawing more and more attention to it.
In 1980, Hayes was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year after he intercepted 13 passes during the regular season and five more in the playoffs as the Raiders went on to win Super Bowl XV. A year later in 1981, the NFL banned stickum from the league, and has remained banned since then.