After the Chicago Bears closed the door on re-signing Devin Hester last week, speculation on where the veteran return specialist would land ran rampant. Well a serious suitor has surfaced, as the Kansas City Chiefs appear to have Hester in their crosshairs.
The 31-year-old return man is nearing the end of his NFL career, and was recently relieved of his duties as a wide receiver. Despite his depleting value, Hester still holds some intrigue as a return specialist.
Last season with the Bears, Hester averaged 27.6 yards on 52 kickoff returns (1,442 total yards), and took one punt back for six points. He only needs one more return touchdown to break the career record of Deion Sanders, set at 19. While he has lost a step or two since first entering the league in 2006, Hester still has the explosiveness to get the job done.
The Chiefs need help at wide receiver, but will likely look at Hester as a return specialist and nothing more after he was excluded from the Bears offense in 2013. Kansas City is losing Dexter McCluster, who went to the 2013 Pro Bowl as a punt returner, to free agency this offseason, and Hester is a logical, cheap option to replacing his production.
There were whispers that Hester could sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and rejoin former head coach Lovie Smith, but that rumor has since been shot down.
It won’t be long before Hester is forced to hang up his cleats, but he can still be an effective return man in the right situation. With a stout defense that should force plenty of punts in 2014, the Chiefs seem like an ideal fit for the aging speedster.
Free agency kicks off at 4PM ET today, so we’ll see if something materializes between Hester and the Chiefs.