Devin Hester is a three-time Pro Bowler. He is a three-time First Team All-Pro. He is first in career kickoff and punt return touchdowns with 19. He also has the longest return touchdown in history (109 yards). It appears, however, he is done as a Chicago Bear.
As reported by Ian Rapoport, the Bears have not made any attempts to re-sign Devin Hester so he will hit the open market.
Hester burst onto the scene as a cornerback drafted in the second round. He did not play much corner, though, but he was a fabulous returner, having five return touchdowns his first season, and another one in the Super Bowl.
The Bears figured they might want to try him out as a wide receiver and he had two touchdowns in that position. Hester then backed his glorious rookie season with a total of NINE touchdowns (6 return and 3 as a wide receiver) in his second season.
The experiment as a wideout did not work, but Hester has given the Bears some much-needed return yards and touchdowns to help the team win some games. Now it seems the end of the Hester era is upon us.
It is unclear what kind of market there will be for Hester. He could reunite with his old coach, Lovie Smith, in Tampa Bay. He was very upset when Smith was fired by the Bears and threatened to retire. Reports are, however, that a move to Tampa seems improbable.
There could be a contending team out there that may want to strengthen their special teams, and pick Hester up. He still has something left in the tank. Last season Hester had a career-high 1,436 kickoff return yards, and had a punt return for a touchdown. The Bears just seem to be moving on.
Thank you Devin Hester for your time in Chicago. You gave us some great joy and excitement. Hopefully one day we will see your bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Just don’t go all Brian Urlacher on the Bears.