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Devin Hester is OK with solely being a returner
Bears coach Marc Trestman said recently at the NFL owners meetings that you’d have to ask Devin Hester how he feels about being solely a kick returner for this upcoming season.
On Sunday night, Hester declared on “The J Mack and Nate Vash Show” on WLS-AM (890) that he’s OK with it and is looking forward to getting his “swagger” back.
“I’m fine with it,” Hester said on the show, which is hosted by former Bears fullback Jason McKie (@Jmack37). “It was kind of my idea to let me more focus on my kickoff and punt return thing. … It was more of my idea to do it.”
Hester said he spoke to Trestman before heading back to Florida this offseason. It was then when it was agreed that Hester would focus on regaining his form on special teams.
“Me and coach Trestman talked before I went home for the break and we came up with the idea that I would just go back to being a key return man — a punt return and kickoff return man — and a little bit more special teams,” Hester said. “That would be what I know as of now my role to be for the upcoming season.”
Again, Hester is OK with that.
Hester admittedly had a very frustrating season in 2012. He struggled with his returns, failing to return a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, and saw his roles on offense diminish as the season went on.
Hester had 23 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown last season. He averaged 8.3 yards per punt return and 25.9 yards on kickoff returns.
“My door is not closed on the offensive side of the ball. I’m still open to it,” Hester said on the radio show. “But as of right now, I know that I’m going here first into this season as the main kickoff return man. As of right now, that’s my main focus — to get my swagger back.”
That’s got to sound good to Bears fans.
Hester — arguably the best kick returner ever — said he’s been working on regaining his explosion through his offseason training.
“That’s where I fell short of the past couple years,” Hester said.
As for all the changes the Bears have undergone, Hester said the feel around the locker room is “very different,” especially with Brian Urlacher and Lovie Smith gone. But he likes what Trestman is doing.
Hester described Trestman as “more of a hands-on, player-type guy” and said he likes the changes he’s made to the locker room, mixing offensive and defensive players.
“He’s trying to stop the separation of guys hanging out with their position,” Hester said. “Now the team, everybody is just hanging out with each other. … That small little thing is kind of helping out a little bit. I can tell.”
Hester, who has 18 return touchdowns in his career, did have a message for fans on “The J Mack and Nate Vash Show.”
“Don’t lose faith in me because I’m always full of surprises,” he said.