Is Devin Hester Done?
He had a phenomenal resume. Second-round draft pick in 2006, finalist for NFL Rookie of the Year, Special Teams’ Player of the Year in 2006, 2007, and 2010.
He even has the record for the most return touchdowns (punt and kick combined) in NFL history. He later became a wide receiver, and played well with the addition of Jay Cutler.
In 2011 however, Devin Hester only played five games. In 2012 he was ranked #48 overall (how?!), and was ranked 22nd in punt return average. After the firing of Lovie Smith, Hester mentioned he considered retirement, but later determined he was just being emotional.
This season, the Bears have assigned him back to where he started: as the special teams go-to-guy.
“Whatever it takes to bring the special teams back, the return game back to what we used to have, they really, really wanted that.” Hester said. “They told me, ‘This is your passion. You know what you're good at. You know what you're great at. Let's get it back to what it was.”
Hester will need to gain his confidence back to impress new special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, who has spent the last few years as the ST coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. At 30-years-old, Hester’s salary of $1.857 million this season could move up eventually if he has a bounce-back year.
His presence on punt and kick returns was one aspect of what made Chicago one of the more dangerous teams in the league in the last decade, so the pressure will be on him to perform at the level he once did.
In his entire career, he’s amassed 217 receptions, 7053 return yards, and 32 touchdowns.
''I'm a team ballplayer,'' Hester said. ''Wherever they need me, that's where I'm going to fit.''