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Devin Hester wants a “fresh start”

Devin Hester, Kassim Osgood AP

Bears return man Devin Hester has been frustrated this offseason, and said he might need a “fresh start” to make football fun again.

Hester told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune he wanted to play a few more years, even if it is somewhere other than Chicago.

“I’m going to try to get two or three more years in,” the 30-year-old Hester said. “I think I have that much left in me.

“At the same time, I think I do need a fresh start.”

Hester has a year left on his contract, but seemed more frustrated with his lack of action on offense. He caught 57 passes in 2009, but just 23 last season.

“Not only this year, but the last couple of years it has been like that,” Hester said. “It was really starting to show, why I was frustrated.

“I’m not making any excuses. I know some of the plays I should have made in terms of catching the ball. But I just wasn’t feeling it. My mind wasn’t there the majority of the time.”

He called a trade “a possibility,” but said if he returns to the Bears, he’s willing to just return.

“To be honest with you, if I’m still here, I don’t want to play offense,” he said. “I don’t think my role [on offense] will fit. I can’t truly say that with the new offense, but from past experience, I don’t think it will fit. . . .

“If I’m here, I want to bring another Super Bowl title to this city. I love the fans and the support. But I don’t want to play this game like I have the last couple of years — not having fun.”

It’s clear that Hester’s issues go far beyond the firing of head coach Lovie Smith, and will be something the Bears need to decide if they want to work on fixing, or just move on from the aging return specialist.

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42 Responses to “Devin Hester wants a “fresh start””
  1. echoplex89 says: Feb 3, 2013 11:29 AM

    Hester is 30 yrs old and just finished his 5th yr at WR.

    She still drops passes frequently.

    He can’t handle punts anymore.

    He struggles to grasp the play book.

    He also forgets where to line up on the line of scrimmage.

    The Bears need a fresh start too.

  2. vegagreenleaf says: Feb 3, 2013 11:32 AM

    He’s not a wide receiver. He WAS a threat in the return game, but not in the last few years. Trade him for anything you can get…

  3. mazblast says: Feb 3, 2013 11:34 AM

    “But I just wasn’t feeling it. My mind wasn’t there the majority of the time.”

    If you’re making millions and feel that way, it is probably time to stop playing and get on with your life’s work.

  4. eatitfanboy says: Feb 3, 2013 11:39 AM

    Wouldn’t playing on a team with a completely new coaching staff be considered a fresh start?

  5. emperorzero says: Feb 3, 2013 11:48 AM

    Maybe if you learn to catch the ball and run a route, your quarterback will trust you enough to be where you’re suppose to be and throw you the ball. Just sayin’.

  6. steelers88 says: Feb 3, 2013 11:54 AM

    The NFL has screwed this up too. Has anyone noticed that since they changed the rules the great return men have been non existent for example Cribbs and Hester.

  7. 1stngoal says: Feb 3, 2013 11:55 AM

    Hester’s value is and always was as a return specialist.
    The minute the League changed the rules concerning kickoffs, his value plummeted.

  8. randolph32 says: Feb 3, 2013 11:58 AM

    Why was Lovie fired, and Angelo as well? For one, they took one of the best returners in the history of the league and made him a WR, or at least in name, not really in terms of production.

    Start fresh with the Bears Devin, you have no value to trade, maybe a 6 or 7 at best…and you’re Cap hit isn’t excessive.

    Hope to see you in August.

  9. egomaniac247 says: Feb 3, 2013 11:58 AM

    Want a fresh start and a change of pace?

    Learn how to catch the ball and run proper routes.

  10. groleo45 says: Feb 3, 2013 12:06 PM

    We would absolutely love your big play ability on special teams in the D. And, judging from the comments here from Bears fans, they wouldn’t mind seeing you gone either.

  11. ponder7vikings says: Feb 3, 2013 12:15 PM

    this has jets all over it.

  12. fonetiklee says: Feb 3, 2013 12:17 PM

    The guy has never been a legit WR, all his value came from his ability to return punts. Since he apparently can’t do that anymore either, I can’t see why anybody would want him.

  13. snccoach says: Feb 3, 2013 12:19 PM

    The problem with Hester is Chicago tried to make him something he’s not, a full-time wide receiver. The “U” even knew that he was not an effective corner or receiver, he was a dominant returner. That’s why hes was drafted! Hester is THE BEST returner in NFL history and the Bears completely messed that up by being smarter than themselves and trying to experiment with him. Huge Fail. Keep him as a KR/PR and he’ll change/win games for you.

  14. jimmysee says: Feb 3, 2013 12:22 PM

    Hmmmmm – who to sign??!! Devin Hester or Greg Jennings. (That’s a tough call!

    :-)

  15. ninerhatersgetready4ring6 says: Feb 3, 2013 12:34 PM

    Trade him to the 49ers, Ginn will be not resigned and the Niners need a punt returner and slot/4th receiver. He will have an opportunity to compete for a SuperBowl . With 14 picks in this years draft trade a 5th and all sides are in a win win situation. Make it happen Baalke……..Niners for Life……

  16. cassrangers says: Feb 3, 2013 12:36 PM

    I still wouldn’t be ready to give up on him. He didn’t have any return TD’s last year, but he came close to getting a couple. 2 years ago he had 3 total return TD’s. He’s not done by any means. I hope they keep him and do designate him to ONLY return duties.

  17. cadillacjosh says: Feb 3, 2013 12:47 PM

    I am not interested in looking these stats up, but under Martz, Hested had something like 700 yards and a few td’s. If he had stayed healthy that whole year, he probably would’ve gotten to a grand recieving yards. I’m not saying he’s a number 1, but he can definitely fit in the #2/#3 role.

    He’s really not as awful at WR as people say. But he’s not amazing. Frankly he has been a part of some huge plays on special teams and as a reciever for us. I would like to see him stay, but I’d rather see him be happy and succesful.

  18. rg3andthensome says: Feb 3, 2013 1:11 PM

    A poor man’s Brandon Banks….

  19. isphet71 says: Feb 3, 2013 1:11 PM

    The rest of the NFC North is dying to get this guy off of the Bears. He and the Bears’ D have stolen far too many games the offense was trying to give away.

    No one is scared of the Bears if they don’t have a special teams threat. If Hester is gone, no one is scared of the Bears unless they can find an equally dangerous replacement.

  20. SilentMajority says: Feb 3, 2013 1:18 PM

    They say defensive backs are wide receivers that cannot catch, maybe his fresh start could be on defense…

  21. firejerry says: Feb 3, 2013 1:23 PM

    I believe that when Hester is playing WR, the Bears are playing with 10.5 on the field. If you add Kellen Davis then they are playing with 10 against 11.

  22. kevinwi says: Feb 3, 2013 1:25 PM

    There isn’t a team in the NFL interested in trading for him. he’d be a longshot to be signed to a camp and actually make the cut to final 53… His days in the NFL are over. Call it early retirement. Used to be a good return man. Not any more.

  23. vltrophy14 says: Feb 3, 2013 1:59 PM

    There’s no way Jennings goes to play for da Bears. Both the team & the QB is a big down grade from the Packers. GJ would never win another Super Bowl

  24. jsyphilis says: Feb 3, 2013 2:14 PM

    The Bears’ coaching staff destroyed his innate, almost superhuman return abilities years ago by trying to develop him as a featured wideout. He lacks both the skill and grasp to function as an every down receiver. That being said, say Hello the newest New England Patriots superstar pass catcher!!

  25. thompsonway says: Feb 3, 2013 2:22 PM

    Devin, you are not doing yourself any favors. Trestman is an offensive mind, whom might be able to get you involved.

  26. kabasaman says: Feb 3, 2013 2:28 PM

    His mind wasn’t there most of the time? What the hell is that? He’s making millions to drop passes and Lovie didn’t seem care….. I think you’d have to have a brain to be there. Devin sure doesn’t seem to be the brightest bulb in the bag……

  27. Pacific NW Mark says: Feb 3, 2013 3:03 PM

    Sorry to say Devin but the frustration is mutual.

    Learn the playbook, run the routes, catch the ball, block downfield – do all of the things other WRs do – and you’ll get the ball more often. And you might have more fun.

  28. tabcdef9 says: Feb 3, 2013 3:21 PM

    Last year was the first one where I saw Devin actually lay out to catch a pass, caught 2 TD’s that way IIRC. I counted that as progress for him as WR. Obviously something’s clouding his judgement on when and where to make his cuts as a return man tho, and it sounds like it’s all in his head. He’s got to kick out those jams and/or get some help doing it. Now.

  29. bearfan1957 says: Feb 3, 2013 3:21 PM

    wish, granted. Hester is starting to complain too much now, and Bears could get another low draft pick this yr. If he stays, do it as k.o. return and punt returns only

  30. lennydpocketqb says: Feb 3, 2013 3:32 PM

    Would you want to live in Chicago? One of the most overrated cities in America. Sadly for Devin I don’t think the free agent market is going to be looking for a punt returner/part time reciever in his 30’s. Maybe Jacksonville?

  31. jprcox says: Feb 3, 2013 3:48 PM

    teams don’t trade for a 30 yr old special teams player going backward in his career. to even suggest Bears could “trade” him is a joke.

  32. chawk12thman says: Feb 3, 2013 4:32 PM

    Going into a contract year his comments may not be the best move. He won’t be a WR, but will keep returning in a game where returns are part of the past due, to rule changes. My guess is he won’t get traded, nor extension. Frustration will continue.

  33. punkyqb says: Feb 3, 2013 4:34 PM

    To all the people out there that think the Bears screwed him up, that’s completely false. He “was” a great return man but he wanted a big payday and you can not give a huge contract to a man that only returns kickoffs and punts, so the Bears try to keep him happy and try to make a WR out of him to justify the larger contract.Well it didn’t work out. I used to like him but the time has come for him to move on or retire. His contract may not be large by today’s standards but he inked that contract years ago. Good by Devin.

  34. seamus0317 says: Feb 3, 2013 4:42 PM

    Release this goof! Right up there with Randy Moss as a colossal underachiever! Plus he had no clue what’s in the play book! Another example of the quality education at the U!!!

  35. fbwangus8736 says: Feb 3, 2013 4:47 PM

    He still Avg. almost 26 yrds a KOR and led the league in Punt return yrds. in 2010 and 2011. Teams got smart and started to finally kick away from Him on punts. He caught 23 passes from the great “Jay Cutler”. I think He still has a lot left in the tank. Not sure if His talk about “making the game fun” is “wanting more money” or a new contract. Bears win because of Hester being on that team. People seem to forget that.

  36. chi01town says: Feb 3, 2013 5:52 PM

    Emery should trade this Lovie loving bum an try not to get none on his shoes. Hester CANT CATCH he cant run a route and when was the last time he ran a kick back? get somebody worth having on the team or a 2nd round draft pick would be nice

  37. esplife03 says: Feb 3, 2013 7:04 PM

    A lot of the time a guy will play CB when they have all the speed to be an offensive threat but can’t catch a ball. In college hester was a return guy and CB for exactly that reason, so why in the heck did lovie expect to take a guy that wasn’t good enough to catch in college and expect him to sling passes from one of the strongest arms in the game? He was doomed from the get go. I always thought about using him just for returns and MAYBE a reverse route RB sort of deal but who knows.

  38. larryboodry says: Feb 3, 2013 9:06 PM

    Devin Hester has never interviewed well, even when he was in his prime and having fun, he always seemed slow on the uptake…And admitting that you haven’t always been there mentally during games is not a good way to endear yourself to fans and teammates.

    That said, I hope Hester finishes his contract as a kick returner for the Bears…With the new coacking staff in place, this is probably the freshest start he’s gonna get.

  39. stevejjones says: Feb 4, 2013 12:07 AM

    This is disappointing. Devin Hester was a great weapon for the Bears. I understood and accepted the move to make him a wide receiver. It is obvious teams were playing keep away with him knowing he could take it to the house. WR was a way to get the ball in his hands more often. Hearing that his “mind wasn’t in it” or whatever is a big disappointment. Wow. I got defensive when people called him dumb. He is such a talent. Even a mental midget like Demaryius Thomas can put his heart into the job and be productive at WR. C’mon Devin. Bear down.

  40. shorttracknews says: Feb 4, 2013 1:46 AM

    I’m a Bears fan and love what Hester used to bring to the table, but it’s less and less every year. The Lovie/Angelo regime evaluated him to high as a WR and signed him to a huge contract that really wasn’t deserved…to try and turn him into a WR. Sorry, but by the time you make the NFL you are either a WR or your aren’t. He took the big money and had visions of 1200 yard seasons and 14 TD’s dancing in his head and never came close to that. Now with Marshall, Jeffery and Bennett all ahead of him on the depth chart he doesn’t feel like part of the offense. His lack of exciting runs on returns I think weighs on him to much and he always is trying to make something happen, even if it means running backwards on a punt and losing 10 yards or taking a kickoff out of the end zone instead of taking a knee and then getting tackled on the 4 yard line like I saw him do late last year. This sounds like it’s all in his head. Either figure it out or retire and be happy Mr. Hester. No matter what you are the greatest returner in NFL history. I think you have a few more TD’s in you, you just gotta focus on what made you great,

  41. iowahbr says: Feb 4, 2013 5:54 PM

    Stop planning your next career move with reporters, learn to catch the tough balls, and how to get open across the middle. Father Time catches up with all of us.

  42. ghjjf says: Feb 7, 2013 6:36 PM

    The Bears don’t know how to properly use Hester as a receiver. He needs to line up about 30 yards behind the quarterback. After the ball is snapped, the quarterback should then throw a backwards pass straight up into the air towards Hester.

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