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Bears want to expand Hester’s special teams role beyond returning

Devin Hester, Kassim Osgood AP

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 GraddySam 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.

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15 Responses to “Bears want to expand Hester’s special teams role beyond returning”
  1. kevingreene160sacknoHOFclub says: Apr 18, 2013 7:30 AM

    If only every play was a punt or kick, says Devin Hester.

  2. britishraven says: Apr 18, 2013 7:51 AM

    Hester has been a disaster at WR and it has significantly affected his KR and PR play since pretty much becoming a starter on offense (has he even scored a return TD in the past 2-3 years?)

    Speed is useless for a gunner if they can’t get off the block. Also he’s probably going to get lit up by a backup LB on every play.

  3. neva4get5 says: Apr 18, 2013 8:19 AM

    Does holding the ball on the tee count as being useful?? Face it Joe D., kick returners are no longer useful in the NFL! As much as I loved Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Brian Mitchell and Josh Cribbs, just to name a few, coaches have found ways to nullify great kick returners. Ask Tom Coughlin, better yet don’t ask Tom he might still have nightmares of D-Jax running off the MetLife field with a division championship in his hand!!

  4. SilentMajority says: Apr 18, 2013 8:51 AM

    I love this idea! Special Teams was where Hester always excelled, and his production began to go down once coaches tried to make him something he wasn’t. Hopefully this resurrects his career!

  5. thompsonway says: Apr 18, 2013 8:53 AM

    It is sounding more and more that the writing is on the wall for Hester. Emery is no dummy, and he has to be questioning the value of Hester, in relationship to his contract.

  6. randyextry says: Apr 18, 2013 9:16 AM

    “the guy who can get their fastest…”

    We all make fun of Marcus Vick for not knowing the difference between “there,” “their,” and “they’re,”but how about Josh Alper – a professional writer. Even if the mistake was present in the quotation, he should have added [sic].

    JOSH ALPER: You’re right, I should have. It’s been added.

  7. theogeisel says: Apr 18, 2013 9:33 AM

    “britishraven says: Apr 18, 2013 7:51 AM

    Hester has been a disaster at WR and it has significantly affected his KR and PR play since pretty much becoming a starter on offense (has he even scored a return TD in the past 2-3 years?)”

    Five in the last three years to be exact.

  8. pdillon1 says: Apr 18, 2013 10:24 AM

    I’ll never understand the obsession of getting the most bang for your buck out of Hester through the years. Every team in the league has some 3rd linebacker or 5th WR taking up a spot. Let alone paying a “Center” millions just to snap the ball on punts and kicks.

    You have the greatest player at his position in history. What was it wrong with just paying him like the greatest and letting him do just that? Could it be collusion with GMs and that the Bears didn’t want to set a new standard for paying a KR so they tried to make him a WR as well for the last 4 years to justify his contract? Nah couldn’t be that.

  9. minilb says: Apr 18, 2013 10:28 AM

    Does Hester even know how to tackle? I wouldn’t have him out to there trying to make tackles when he doesn’t have the focus or wherewithal to do anything but return kicks.

  10. celly84 says: Apr 18, 2013 10:40 AM

    I may be mistaken, but wasn’t he drafted as a CB? what ever happened to that? was he THAT bad as a DB?

  11. chi01town says: Apr 18, 2013 11:24 AM

    Here we go again ANOTHER BAD idea. kick offs and punts are enough
    keep Hester ready so he can be as fast as posible. playing gunner will only slow him down and get him hurt. I dont like this move

  12. larryboodry says: Apr 18, 2013 12:07 PM

    Bad idea…He has no value at all if he gets hurt.

  13. louiespoon says: Apr 18, 2013 1:37 PM

    I’ll be the first to admit Hester was not a great receiver but he was not as bad as made out to be. Cutler didn’t trust him with reason with the drops and missed routes but when he was in a simple scheme like Ron Turner he was getting 50+ catches and 600-700 yards. I want to see him pull a Troy Brown and play both ways….

  14. respectgsh says: Apr 18, 2013 5:02 PM

    @theogeisel
    Great response, but even better handle.

  15. filthymcnasty1 says: Apr 18, 2013 11:50 PM

    He was born to be a long snapper.

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