Chicago Bears: Devin Hester Happy to Be Just Return Specialist

By Clyde A. Speller
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

About a month ago, Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said at the NFL Scouting Combine that Devin Hester will only be a return specialist in 2013.

Hester, who flirted with the idea of wanting to be traded after the departure of former head coach Lovie Smith, seems to be totally on board with the idea. New Bears head coach Marc Trestman told the Chicago Tribune that Hester “feels really good” about being used for just the return game.

Though Hester is considered by some to be the best return man the league has ever seen, his receiving never came close to matching his performance on special teams. The 2009 season marked his best year as a receiver, with 57 receptions for 757 yards (both career-highs) and three touchdowns. However, his numbers significantly declined year after year from that point.

This decision by Emery and Trestman could be exactly what is needed for Hester to return to the dynamic playmaker that we are all accustomed to seeing. Furthermore, this decision could also give a clear indication that Chicago will target a wide receiver in this year’s draft.

Along with Hester being relieved of his receiving duties, wide receiver Johnny Knox recently retired after not being physically able to recover from a gruesome spinal injury. With Hester and Knox taken out of the receiving equation, the Bears should definitely make wide receiver a high priority this April.

Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Earl Bennett should now have more opportunities to shine in Chicago’s offense opposite fellow Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

For a moment, I actually thought that Hester would be against not being a receiver for the Bears. In actuality, I think it’s the best thing that could happen for him and the franchise. Hester never grasped the concept of being a receiver in the NFL, and was one of the reasons why the Bears’ offense never lived up to fans’ expectations.

Hester can now devote all of his time and energy in continuing to rewrite the record books, and not have to worry about learning a new offense. As for Chicago’s offense, they can now implement a receiver that is much better than Hester.

Clyde A. Speller  is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google

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