Devin Hester already knew that the Bears weren’t going to re-sign him for the 2014 season and the Bears went public with the information on Thursday.
The team issued a release confirming that they will not be bringing Hester back to return kicks for them for a ninth season.
“For the past eight seasons we have been honored to have Devin Hester as a part of our organization,” Bears General Manager Phil Emerysaid. “While Devin has redefined the pinnacle standard of the return position in the NFL, the memories and contributions he has given us cannot be measured by stats or numbers. Not only is Devin a special player, he is also an exceptional person. He is a great teammate, husband and father. Devin represented the organization off-the-field as well as he did on it. When his career is over, he will always be a welcome member of the Bears family. We thank him for his dedication and wish him and his family all the best.”
Hester will leave Chicago as the all-time leader in punt return touchdowns and total kick return touchdowns, and he’s tied with Deion Sanders for the most overall return touchdowns in the history of the NFL. He also is the Bears’ franchise leader in every meaningful return metric.
Hester said Wednesday that he’d love to play for former Bears coach Lovie Smith in Tampa, but we’ll have to wait at least a few more days to see if the interest is mutual.