It’s been more than two years since we’ve seen Devin Hester break a kick return for a touchdown, but if the Bears receiver has his way we could see him get back on the horse in 2010.
Hester was a guest on “The Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN Radio in Chicago Thursday and told the hosts that while he was happy to do whatever the coaching staff asked of him, he’d like to resume his role as the team’s lead kickoff returner.
“I know what I’m best at,” Hester said. “The return game is my bread and butter, so
if I had to cut back on my receiving and go back to returning, that’s
something I would love to do.”
Hester had four touchdowns on 63 regular season returns in his first two seasons and added another score on the first play of Super Bowl XLI in 2007. He’s returned 38 kicks over the last two seasons, just seven in 2009, as the Bears have tried to harness his abilities to juice up thier offense. Hester had 57 catches for 757 yards and three touchdowns in 2009.
If the Bears do choose to limit Hester’s role in the offense, it would likely be because of the way Devin Aromashodu played down the stretch last season. The fourth-year player out of Auburn had 22 catches and four touchdowns in the final four games and flashed some good chemistry with Jay Cutler.
The fact that the Bears have to learn Mike Martz’s expansive offense might also affect how much Hester, a converted cornerback, contributes to the base offense. His speed will always be an asset, but the team might find new ways to utilize it with Martz at the reins.
If Hester doesn’t return to the returner role, the Bears should still be okay on kickoffs. Rookie receiver Johnny Knox returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown this season and wound up in the Pro Bowl after Percy Harvin passed on an invitation to the game.