Will Chicago Bear Devin Hester soon become a dinosaur?

Emery expecting big things from Hester

50 Greatest Bears

With the advent of the hard salary cap in 1994, teams have been taskedwith finding as many versatile players as possible. While the salary cap era spawned a significant increase in dual punt and kick returnerstheir consolidation of duties is cost efficientthe high-priced dual returner with no offensive, defensive or other special teams responsibilities is an endangered species. The lone survivor might be found on the Chicago Bears roster on opening day against the Cincinnati Bengals in the name of Devin Hester . Or maybe not. For Hester to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs, he will likely need to show a burst during training camp and exhibition games to justify remaining the exception to a trend that wiped out his expensive one-dimensional brethren years ago. Clearly Devin Hester is one of the best kick returners infranchise history and arguably among the top five in league history.Hester, whosecareer started in 2006,holds the record for the most kicks returned for touchdowns with seventeen and the most punts returned for touchdowns with twelve, and he is tiedforeighth in career kickoffs returned for touchdowns with five. Hiscareer punt return average of 12.1 ranks12th in league history, and in hisseven seasons, he has led the league in punt return average twice (2010 and 2011) and has finishedsecondon two other occasions (2006 and 2007). He is also a playerwhose elegance and class off the fieldare beyond reproach. Hesters kickoff return production has not been nearly as prolific as often perceived. Only once, in 2006, has he been among the top ten in return average. His 23.9 yard return average ties for only 129th in league history, and former Bears Gale Sayers, Johnny Knox, Danieal Manning, Ron Smith, Willie Galimore and Jerry Azumahall rank ahead of Hester. Last year, Hester hadone of his least productive seasons as a returner, failing to finish in the top tenin punt or kick return average and also failing to scoreon a return for the first time since 2009. Shortly after assuming the Bears head-cachingposition, Marc Trestman announced that he was dropping Hester from the wide receiver rotation, a member of which Hester had been since 2007,so thatHestercould focus exclusively on returning kickoffs and punts. In so doing, Trestman has made Hester the only current high priced dual returner with no supplemental special teams, defensive or offensive responsibilities, a dinosaur trying tofend off extinction. Arguably there has not been a marquee dual kick returner without additional responsibilities since at least the mid 1990s when former Bear GlynMilburn spent the 1997 season with the Detroit Lions andseveral-time pro-bowler Mel Grayplied his tradewith the Houston Oilers in 1995 and 1996 after a long tenure with the Lions. Hesters base salaryfor 2013 is approximately $1.9 million,his cap figure approximately $2.9 million. If he were released,his cap figure woulddrop toapproximately$1 million, leading to almost$2 million of cap savings or the equivalentof almost five rookie minimum salaries of $405,000 apiece. As we detail below, thetrend against the dualhigh-priced kick returner without any additional responsibilities has been growing since 1994 but picking up steam like Hester on a return breakaway since 2007. For purposes of this article, we define a dual returner as one who returned both the majority of his teams punts and kickoffs in a given season. We define supplemental contributions very liberally to include any production, whether offensive or defensive or on special teams coverage units, outside of returning kicks. Finally, we define a high priced returner as one whose cap figure exceeds $1 million.

Devin Hester upset returners out of Pro Bowl

Chicago Bears v Jacksonville Jaguars

These atheletes can play more than one position. Most are part-time DBs, WRs, or RBs. luvmnsports2012 says: Aug 1, 2013 11:19 AM Learn how to run routes and catch , then u dont have to worry about no returners!! Devin Hester only has speed going for him, useless receiver! #skolVikes vdogg says: Aug 1, 2013 11:29 AM I hate the idea that the return game is slowly being extracted from the NFL. Its a part of the game, deal with it. Its a contact sport, remove the idea of the wedge, fine. But dont remove the entire play. Go back and look at how many games were decided by or had the momentum turn based on this one single play.

How Devin Hester Went from Most Feared Returner to Virtual Afterthought

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My will to succeed is greater than his. He has no choice but to falter.” Bell, Hester’s high school coach, insists that Hester’s biggest weapon is his vision. “We taught him to run with his eyes,” Bell said. “When he was playing quarterback, he’d be looking one way, but with his peripheral vision he was really looking the other way. It was the same with returns. He’d look one way, plant that foot hard and, one step later, he’s going the other way. “Even at 17, 18, he just had an innate ability to set up one guy and anticipate what the next guy is going to do.” The great kick returners say they are motivated by their task’s daunting degree of difficulty. “Especially the punt return,” said Metcalf, now a Seattle-area high school track coach and Nike consultant.

Off the Snap: Devin Hester says Pro Bowl rule changes ‘suck’

Listen Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery has seen something in Devin Hester that makes him believe the former All-Pro returner could regain the form that made him one of the most feared players in the NFL. “Well he’s certainly going to have that opportunity,” Emery said Wednesday on “The Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN Chicago 1000. “We’re looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.” The Bears have Hester working exclusively with the special teams instead of splitting time as a receiver, which was a position Hester never seemed to fully grasp. “He’s got a light,” Emery said. “He just lights up when you walk around him right now. “I think he feels very good about where his body is at, where his mind is at, to have that type of season and we’re looking forward to watching him.” Hester said as much recently. “I feel great,” he said. “I havent felt like this in a while. Im very excited for the season, whats at stake this year. I do feel like we do have a great chance to make a run for the playoffs as well as the Super Bowl.

Devin Hester hoping for a healthy return

Of his returns, 12 came on punt returnswhich is an NFL recordfive came on kick offs and one was a 108-yard return off a missed field goal against the New York Giants . His signature highlight came as a rookie during the opening kickoff of the Super Bowl back in 2007. Who could forget Jim Nantz’s voice raise with every yard gained or Jeff Joniak on the radio screaming “Devin Hester you are ridiculous!” Hester’s demise started in 2008 when he signed his new contract and began to play wide receiver. By the time Jay Cutler showed up a season later, he was the de facto No. 1 receivera huge mistake. In 2010 Hester had another All-Pro season but reverted back to mediocrity the year after and has stayed there ever since. He had 12 touchdowns on special teams in his first two seasons. Since 2008 he has had just six. What made Hester so great was his ability to get the football and just run. He is at his best when he relies on his instincts.

Devin Hester is truly something special

Devin Hester

The Giants ‘ Jay Feeley attempted a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that fell woefully short, dropping into the waiting arms of Hester at the back of the end zone. After a brief hesitation, he was gone. Hester had the longest return in NFL history 108 yards later. And then there was the Super Bowl XLI moment that will never be forgotten. Announcer Jim Nantz had just finished saying the Indianapolis Colts had trouble covering kicks all season when the ball was in the air to begin the game. Hester fielded the ball at the 10-yard line, made two cuts and was off the races. Just like that, Hester had returned the opening kickoff the Super Bowl for a touchdown. Of course he did. Hester would take six kicks for touchdowns his second season before momentarily losing his magic. Hester didn’t get in the end zone his third or fourth seasons, maybe because of the added work at receiver, maybe because of a change in shoes .

Chicago Bears 2013 training camp: Chasing Devin Hester


Cheetah, which will kick off Big Cat Week in November on the National Geographic Wild channel, TheWrap.com reports . This is most incredible challenge Ive ever faced, Johnson said. I wanted to go up against the fastest in the world and test myself, and this was it! Exclamation point supplied by TheWrap. This seems headed for one and only conclusion, unless they faced a very old, very fat or very bored cheetah. The whole idea of racing next to a cheetah for Nat Geo Wild was a very unusual proposition, Hester said. But it was something I was ready to take on to see if I could get an edge on. TheWrap notes: Man vs. Cheetah will not only look at how the cheetahs speed, maneuverability and instinct all come together, but it will reveal the key advantages and the vulnerabilities of the contestants. The special addresses whether cheetahs have hidden weaknesses despite their all-out running power, and whether comparing them to humans might reveal new information about cheetahs potential for survival in the wild.


Hester and other special-teams stars around the league, like Oaklands Joshua Cribbs and Tennessees Marc Mariani, now have virtually no shot of being Pro Bowlers in 2014, barring unexpected turns as top receivers for their respective teams. Those guys may want to get used to this. There have been rumblings for some time now that one of the ways the NFL may make the game safer could be to eliminate kickoffs. The violent nature of those plays coverage teams charging 60 yards downfield and slamming into the blocking units are of great concern to the league. A few years back, the NFL enacted a rule change that eliminated wedge blocking on kick returns, in hopes that would decrease injuries. Already, it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles potential three-man quarterback derby has been pared down to a head-to-head showdown. Rookie Matt Barkley is likely a distant third, Jordan Raannan of NJ.com reported , with the former USC QB running exclusively with the third team so far in camp. While that should come as no real surprise given that both Michael Vick and Nick Foles have NFL experience, Barkley was thought to be a sleeper candidate in Philadelphias QB race after the Eagles traded up for him in Round 4 of this years draft. A heavy does of tight end action for the rest of this Off the Snap First up, the Ravens and their ongoing quest to replace Dennis Pitta in the lineup for 2013. Ed Dicksons the favorite to take on most of Pittas snaps as the first-team TE, but rookie Kyle Juszczyk (aka An Editors Nightmare) might have an opportunity to pitch in, too.

Chris Johnson, Devin Hester race a cheetah

Hester played cornerback as a rookie in 2006. He played wide receiver from 2007 to 2012. But after Hester struggled on offense (23 receptions, 242 yards, one touchdown) and kick returns last season, new coach Marc Trestman is hoping to revitalize Hesters career by letting him do what he does best. Hester, who will turn 31 in November, has a lot to prove. And he knows it. I have to prove myself every year, he said. This is a league where only the best survive. I do feel like I am an elite player. I still have a lot left in the tank. For some of the guys that felt like I lost a step, its a burning fire thats under my foot to prove [it] to not only you guys [reporters], but my family as well.


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