After backing off of retirement talk shortly after the Chicago Bears fired long-time head coach Lovie Smith at the end of this past season, Devin Hester now feels that new surroundings could revive his NFL career (both sources via NFL.com).
Hester is the most decorated kick returner the NFL has ever seen, but his failure to consistently produce as a wide receiver is the source for his stalled career.
While Chicago can certainly be blamed for not fully capitalizing on what Hester brings to the table, he has been accused by former Bears wide receivers coach, Darryl Drake, for checking out of games when not involved to his own liking (via the Chicago Tribune).
Hester’s importance to the Bears over the years cannot be understated. It seems, however, that his days as a threat on the football field are finished unless he makes a full commitment to becoming a better wide receiver.
In his seven years in the league, Hester has tallied 217 receptions for 2,807 yards and 14 touchdowns; but he has endured a sharp decline in production since his peak season in 2009 when he caught 57 passes for 757 yards and three scores.
The Bears are headed in a fresh direction under new head coach Marc Trestman and Hester seemingly wants no part of it.
Randall Cobb, Darren Sproles and Josh Cribbs are players that contribute on both special teams and on offense.
The key to thriving in such specialized roles is to accept that the ball might not always be coming your way, but that you should make the most of it when it does. Wherever Hester plays in 2013, it is imperative he understands this.
At this stage in his career, the 30-year-old Hester is nothing but an overpaid return specialist who has only shown nominal flashes as a wide receiver.
Coupled with the NFL minimizing players’ exposure on kick and punt returns, and you have someone who will struggle to find success at the back end of his career—unless his intuition about finding a new home turns out to be correct.
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