We know the Bears don’t plan to use Devin Hester as a wide receiver in 2013, but that doesn’t mean that returning kicks and punts is the only role they have in mind for him.
The Bears have had Hester working on the team’s kick coverage units as well as the team tries to find ways to maximize his value without playing him on offense. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said Wednesday that he hopes to take advantage of Hester’s limited role and put his increased freshness (and speed) to use as a gunner.
“The biggest thing about a great gunner sometimes is the guy who can get their [sic] fastest,” DeCamillis said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “We had a guy in Denver long time ago, he was an Olympic sprinter named Sam Graddy. Sam wasn’t the best tackler in the world, but he sure caused a lot of fair catches. So hopefully we can expand (Hester’s) role and see what happens.”
Assuming the Bears stick with their plan to keep Hester off the offense, they’ll be holding four of their 46 gameday roster spots for special teamers. Getting Hester on the field on as many special teams units as possible is important for building the most efficient roster under those circumstances, so we’d expect to see plenty of Hester covering kicks unless he proves spectacularly inept at it in the preseason.