Bears want Devin Hester to focus kick returnsContinue reading.
Devin Hester’s future with the Bears still unknown
From saying he’s mulling retirement to suggesting that he may need a fresh start somewhere else, there hasn’t been a Bears player who has garnered more headlines post-Lovie Smith than star returner Devin Hester.
And Hester remained a hot topic Thursday when the Bears introduced their new coordinators and assistant coaches at the Walter Payton Center.
New Bears head coach Marc Trestman and new special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Joe DeCamillis have both spoken with Hester, who has one year remaining on his contract.
“I have had some contact with him. It was really brief contact,” DeCamillis said. “But we just have to evaluate that along with everything else. As you get into a new job, you’ve got to evaluate everything and that’s one of the pieces we definitely have to evaluate.”
Trestman met Hester in person.
“It was just an opportunity to get to know each other and not to put into concrete exactly what his role would be if he wants to come back,” Trestman said.
Hester is coming off very frustrating season. He struggled with his returns, failing to return a kickoff or punt for a touchdown, and saw his roles on the Bears’ offense diminish.
Hester finished with 23 catches for 242 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 8.3 yards per punt return and 25.9 yards on kickoff returns.
What did DeCamillis make of Hester’s season?
“It’s hard to say whether he had the same opportunities every time [or] whether he didn’t,” he said. “We’ve watched the film and we’ll be going over it another two to three times before we make a determination. Just like any other player, we want to make sure they have a chance to be successful. Devin is no different. We want to try to make all our players as successful as possible.”
Hester’s decision-making often came into question last season. Speaking in general terms, DeCamillis stressed the importance of a returner’s decision-making on Thursday.
“It’s something … that we really try to stress a lot,” he said. “I think you almost need to be a quarterback back there. You need to have a quarterback’s mentality and really try to make decisions based on what’s best for your football team. We’re going to try to impress that on all our guys.”
DeCamillis said he’s under the impression that Hester remains under contract, but he stopped short of saying that he prefers that Hester returns.
“I would prefer to be [with] what’s best for the Bears,” DeCamillis said. “I know that’s the company line, but that’s really the truth. I want to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears and make sure whoever is out there is best guy that we can get.”
Assistant special teams coach Dwayne Stukes said it would be exciting to work with Hester if he does return to the Bears.
“We’ve watched film since we’ve been here, looking at Devin,” Stukes told the Sun-Times. “We’re excited to work with Devin — I know I am, personally — and to get him back to where he was in the past years. Last year, in our minds, it was what it was. Now, it’s time to start anew like he wants and this is a new start for him.”