After Devin Hester’s success in the return game during his 2006 rookie season, switching the playmaker from defense to offense seemed to be a great idea. However, the past few years proved otherwise.
At this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery stated that Hester will only be a return man for the Bears in 2013. I guess it’s safe to say that Hester won’t be getting a “fresh start” somewhere else.
Emery further elaborated saying that Hester will be looked at in organized team activities this offseason, and how he performs as a returner will dictate what he will be allowed to do beyond the return game.
Personally, I feel that relieving Hester of his duties as a wide receiver is long overdue. Since 2009, the year that Chicago signed their franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, Hester’s receiving statistics have declined year after year.
In the first year working with Cutler, Hester tallied 57 receptions for 757 yards (both career-highs) and three touchdowns. In 2010, the seven-year veteran had 40 catches for 475 yards and four touchdowns. Hester’s numbers in 2011 were 26 catches for 369 yards and one touchdown, and his 23 grabs for 242 yards and one touchdown in 2012 were the worst of his career.
Maybe now, since Hester doesn’t have to worry about running routes and being on the same page as Cutler and the other receivers, he can solely concentrate on the return game. Hester returning to his old self on special teams will greatly help Chicago’s offense with field position and could be the one thing that will help put the Bears back in contention for the Super Bowl.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google