Jerry Angelo Era Should End With Devin Hester's Holdout

Jerry Burnes@@JerryBurnesAnalyst IJuly 23, 2008

Tommie Harris, Lance Briggs, Robbie Gould, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, Rashied Davis, Alex Brown, Desmond Clark, and Brian Urlacher.

What do they all have in common?

They are the members of the Bears that have recently received new contracts.

Devin Hester has yet to see his new contract, and now he's a training camp holdout.

"You should pay me like I’m one-of-a-kind," Hester told the Chicago Tribune. "It's like dating a girl. When you find somebody who is real special, you’re going to do whatever it takes to keep her."

Hester is without doubt the most electrifying player on the Bears roster. Now the Bears have a chance to expand his role past return specialist to a starting wide receiver and give him more of a chance to shine. Too bad Jerry Angelo does not want to pay him for what he brings to the Bears.

Should we count the number of times Hester has bailed the Bears out of a loss?

I'll just leave it at the game against the Arizona Cardinals in 2006 when Hester returned a punt to help lead the Bears over the Cards. 

Hester is now another statistic in the Jerry Angelo Era that has been nothing short of cheap and stingy when resigning players.

Briggs was a near hold out last season, Urlacher this season, and now Hester has followed through.

Even if the Bears lock up Hester soon, which they should, it's time for the Jerry Angelo Era to end in Chicago.

"We thought Devin was going to be here," Angelo said after Wednesday's practice. "We've been negotiating with Devin for a while and we are continually negotiating with him as well. So I really don’t know why he isn’t here today."

It's not that hard to figure out why Hester is not in camp.

He's an impact player even though he has not shown his full potential at receiver. He has shown enough and done enough for the team to insure himself a lengthy contract.

He has only two years left on his original four-year $2.61 million deal.

That's not the Angelo way though.

He would rather keep a player as cheap as possible, no matter how unhappy they are, and no matter how much they threaten to not play.

Sadly enough, Angelo even admitted after practice to not taking Hester's holdout threats seriously.

"He floated it out there, but I didn’t really take it serious because as I said we are still talking, we’re still in the process, there’s no closure," Angelo said. "Usually when you say, ‘Hey, it’s over, take it or leave it, we’re out of money,’ you might get a reaction like that. But as you’re continuing on in negotiations as we have been, it is surprising."

Angelo's reign in Chicago has produced nothing thus far. No Super Bowl rings, one Super Bowl disappointment, and a boatload of unhappy players.

Too often Angelo has let the good players get away. Marty Booker in his prime was a Bear, but Angelo didn't retain him. Same with Bobby Engram, and same with Thomas Jones who also wanted a new contract before Angelo traded him.

If the Bears want to find the Super Bowl again, they need to cut the dead weight at general manager. If they hang onto Angelo, he will cost them big one of these days.

Hester was the player on the Bears who most deserved an extension. What he brings to the Bears is irreplaceable. He has not been injured, he's switched positions in an attempt to better himself, he's not sounded off in the media about his team's performance.

He proved he was in it for the team when he showed up for workouts, but as any player will tell you, sometimes you have to look out for yourself.

Hester is doing that now.

It's Angelo's job to do what's best for the team, and what's best for the Bears now is to put Hester on the field and give him a shot at earning a starting spot.

No matter what happens to Hester though, it's time for Angelo to go.

He has been a detriment to this team's morale and in some cases it's performance. He has not kept the best players in the Windy City or given them what they deserve to keep them happy.

Angelo has produced consistently bad draft choices throughout his tenure, and even worse free agent signings.

Angelo says there is no order in who gets a new contract and when. But tell me this. What have Orton, Grossman, and Davis done to earn a new deal before Hester?

Fact is Angelo should have had Briggs resigned last season, and Urlacher and Hester locked up long before now.

The Bears are not the Patriots, they cannot lose a key player and simply plug someone in to succeed. Someone needs to give Jerry Angelo that memo.

Hester was the lone bright spot in the Bears' disappointing 2007 season. It's time for the Bears to pay up.

Devin Hester is their franchise and their future, and Jerry Angelo needs to become a simple footnote in Chicago Bears history.