Both Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman and player Devin Hester has discussed plans to limit him solely to kick returner, instead of a receiver like he was under the Lovie Smith regime.
In Hester’s breakout year in ’06, he returned 47 punt returns for 600 yards and 20 kickoff returns for 528 yards. He did even better the following year with 42 punt returns for 651 yards and 43 kick returns for 934 yards. Hester went to the Pro Bowl both years.
After two years of greatness, he plummeted to only seeing less than 200 yards for the next two years on punt returns. However, Hester still had his position as wide receiver to remain valuable.
Earlier in his career, it seemed as though he was a guaranteed to make a big play and shift the game’s momentum any time the ball was kicked to him. Now, it seems he has the explosive ability as an average return man. Hester is getting older and will have to prove that he still has that sparkle we saw in his early years. Trestman will want to see some touchdowns off returns and some major yardage to gain offensive advantage.
Being able to focus on one part of the game could be a huge advantage to get back to his former potential. Or, this could be a trying year for him. He has made a name for himself in Chicago but with a whole new administration and Phil Emery itching for a Super Bowl win, it’s questionable whether or not he’ll be wearing his jersey for much longer.