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Devin Hester says team is going a different route, likely won’t return to Bears

devin-hesterFor eight seasons Devin Hester has been a weapon for the Chicago Bears. He’s a threat to score anytime his hands are on the football. When opponents lined up to punt, all eyes focused on No. 23.

In 2014, Devin Hester and his numerous NFL records will likely be suiting up for another team.

“I know that Chicago wants to go a different route. All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support. They’ve always been great to me. Always been loyal. I couldn’t have played for a better city. At the end of my career I do want to retire as a member of the Bears,” Hester said Wednesday on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access.”

Prior to last season, head coach Marc Trestman simplified Devin Hester’s role, making him strictly a return man. After spending time from 2007-2012 as a wide receiver, Hester’s final season with the Chicago Bears was similar to his first in that he didn’t catch a single pass.

As a member of the Bears, Hester was named to three Pro Bowl teams and was a First-Team All-Pro three times. He’s the Bears’ all-time leader in punt return yards and touchdowns as well as kickoff return yards. Hester’s 18 combined punt return (13) and kickoff return (5) scores are the most in NFL history.

Devin Hester may wear another team’s uniform in the future, but for these plays he’ll always be a Chicago Bear.

Devin Hester: I have one foot in Hall of Fame

devin-hesterChicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester is arguably the greatest return man in NFL history. His 12 punt returns for touchdowns are the most in NFL history, as are his 18 combined touchdown returns on punts, kickoff and a missed field goal. The numbers speak for themselves, but are they Hall of Fame worthy?

As Pro Football Talk pointed out, former NFL kicker Jan Stenerud is the only player currently in the Hall of Fame based solely on special teams work. Hester believes he will be the next.

“I have one foot in right now,” he told the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Mulligan. “If I take three or four back this year, it should be considered 80 percent chance of making it. But I am not really worried about it right now. I am really focused on this season. After this season, when all the stats add up, hopefully it won’t be a question.”

Taking three or four back in 2013 will be no easy task, but Hester is more than capable of doing it. The problem now is that teams rarely give him a chance to return it, opting to either kick the ball out of bounds on punts or kicking to another player.

In aiming for the Hall, Hester is facing the same uphill battle punters face. Chris Kluwe wore a patch on his jersey last season to campaign for Ray Guy, who is considered to be the greatest punter in NFL history, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. As of now, punters and kick return specialists are not valued enough to be given a spot in Canton — or the 2013 Pro Bowl for that matter. I have my doubts that Hester will be any different.

Devin Hester on Pro Bowl eliminating kickoffs: ‘That will suck for me’

devin-hesterChicago Beard wide receiver Devin Hester has never been much of a pass catcher. He hauled in only 49 passes over the past two seasons, but his value to the Bears extends beyond the passing game. Above all else, Hester is a special teamer and a kick return specialist.

On Wednesday, the NFL decided that people like Hester aren’t all that important to the Pro Bowl. In the interest of player safety, kickoffs have been removed from the annual event. Each Pro Bowl team will now have an extra defensive back in place of a kick return specialist, and Hester is not happy about it.

“That was one of my goals for this season,” Hester told the Chicago Tribune. “I won’t make the Pro Bowl. They can’t do that. If you are taking the returner out of the Pro Bowl, you’re taking two positions out. That will suck for me. They are trying to change up the whole game of football and they’re messing with people’s jobs and lives.”

The game will still feature punts, but there will not be a player on each team specifically to field them. As Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe pointed out, the rule change could even take money out of some players’ pockets.

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Chris Johnson, Devin Hester got a chance to race a cheetah

Chris-Johnson-TitansHow fast are Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson and Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester? We know that they are two of the fastest players in the NFL, but how would they match up against the fastest land animal in the world? Apparently we’re about to find out.

According to The Tennessean, Johnson and Hester recently raced a cheetah for a special that will air in November to kick off Nat Geo Wild’s “Big Cat Week.” Of course, the players were separated from the cheetah by a barrier. It’s also important to note that a cheetah doesn’t understand the concept of friendly competition, so we’ll have to take the results with a grain of salt.

“This is most incredible challenge I’ve ever faced,” Johnson told entertainment site The Wrap. “I wanted to go up against the fastest in the world and test myself, and this was it!”

The segment, called “Man vs. Cheetah,” will compare Johnson’s and Hester’s speed, maneuverability and instincts to that of a cheetah. It will also look into whether cheetahs have hidden weaknesses in their athletic ability or if comparing them to humans will help understand what makes them such dangerous predators in the wild.

“We loved the idea of a face-off like no other between supreme athletes and an alpha predator,” executive vice president and general manager of Nat Geo Wild Geoff Daniels said. “This isn’t sports, it’s amazing science. … And we are thrilled that Johnson and Hester — two record-setting NFL pros — are helping to kick off this unprecedented experiment during our network’s biggest week of the year.”

In reality, Johnson probably has a better chance of making good on his smack talk toward Usain Bolt or actually running a 40-yard dash in the time he claims he is capable of running it. Cheetahs can dash up to 70 mph. Michael Johnson holds the record for the fastest human at 23 mph. Enough said.

Devin Hester says he is considering retirement after Lovie Smith firing

Lovie Smith was one of a number of NFL coaches that were fired on Monday morning, as the Chicago Bears have decided to go in a different direction after missing the playoffs for a second straight season. After the announcement was made, Bears receiver Devin Hester became one of the first players to overract to his coach being shown the door.

“I don’t even know if I want to play again,” Hester said, via ESPNChicago.com. “That’s been something on my mind for two years.

“It’s not (much fun for me anymore). I’ve got my workers comp papers in my pocket. We’ll see how I feel. I’m going to go home and talk to my wife and talk to my family and see where we go from there. I got two beautiful kids, man, two boys. A lot of stress has been on my mind lately.”

Hester has mentioned in the past how he is unhappy with his role — or lack thereof — in the Bears passing attack. He has been one of the best kick returners in the game over the past several seasons, but the 30-year-old pondered on Monday if a change of scenery would better suit him. That’s when the delusional thoughts kicked in

“Who knows?” Hester said when asked if he wants to play somewhere else. “If it’s the right place … if not, I feel like I’ve done enough in the league to where I established myself (as) one of the elite players to ever play the game. God blessed me with seven years. The average years of an NFL player is about three. I made some accomplishments on my own, some goals I reached, some other goals I felt I could have achieved.”

Alright, Devin — this is clearly an emotional time for you so its probably best to just withhold any further comments until you get a good night’s rest. One of the elite players to ever play the game? Smith’s firing is an unpopular one for many people, but he led the Bears to the playoffs only three times in nine seasons. That doesn’t cut it in a place like Chicago. Let’s not get carried away.

Devin Hester Upset Patrick Peterson Got Pro Bowl Nod Over Him

Bears special teamer and wide receiver Devin Hester is considered to be the best return man in NFL history. He has a career-record 17 returns for touchdowns, and he is tied for the single-season lead for punt returns for a score (4) and kick returns (4). Arizona Cardinals rookie Patrick Peterson tied Hester’s record with four punts returned for a score this season, and he earned the kick returner spot for the NFC Pro Bowl team. That has Hester pretty upset.

“Heck yeah I’m disappointed,” Hester said Friday. “I’m not going to lie. I was a little upset. But he did a job this year.”

Hester has three return touchdowns and actually has a higher punt return average (17.3 yards) than Peterson (15.9), but Patrick took more to the house. Hester is listed as the first alternate but he doesn’t expect Peterson to miss the game.

Hester is the more accomplished player, but Peterson made more of a difference this year and deserved the honor.

Devin Hester: Signing Donovan McNabb or Another QB Would Be ‘Waste of Time’

The fact that Donovan McNabb was waived by the Minnesota Vikings and not a single team claimed him should tell us all we need to know.  McNabb’s best years are behind him.  No team in the NFL thinks he is capable of contributing at this point, but Bears fans are officially desperate.  With Caleb Hanie under center, Matt Forte out with a knee injury, and a loss to the Chiefs on Sunday, Chicago’s playoff hopes are in serious jeopardy. Devin Hester does not think McNabb is the solution.

“It’s going to be tough right now to pick up a quarterback that hasn’t played in the Mike Martz offense,” Hester said Monday on Mike and Mike in the Morning according to Pro Football Talk. “This is a difficult offense to run, so as far as a quarterback who hasn’t played in the offense, right now it’s going to be a waste of time.”

Before we start accusing Hester of ripping McNabb and calling him useless, let us recall the way things ended for Donovan with his two previous teams.  In Washington, his tenure ended with Mike Shanahan inviting him back as a backup.  In Minnesota, he quickly became a backup when the on-field results were horrible.

He can blame poor teams all he wants, but McNabb is no longer a capable starting quarterback in the NFL and Hester is right about Martz’s offense.  After he left Philadelphia, McNabb showed no signs that he was able to learn another team’s playbook and adapt to a new system.  There is even less reason to believe he would be able to do it in Chicago.