Devin Hester reportedly won’t be back with Bears
With days left until free agency begins, reports of veterans staying or going have grown abundant. Bears return man Devin Hester’s situation is a bit different, however.
The Bears haven’t attempted to re-sign Hester, according to an NFL Media report citing a source familiar with the situation.
While Hester is coming off a season in which he posted a career-high 1,436 kickoff return yards, his base salary might be too much to swallow for a team whose defense ranked near the basement in every major category.
Despite being selected to three Pro Bowls, Hester is a 31-year-old specialist and is viewed as more of a luxury than a necessity. Speculation of Hester’s departure began in Week 17, when Chicago gave Saints practice-squad player Chris Williams a three-year deal and a spot on the roster. Williams, a return specialist who played three seasons in the Canadian Football League, is viewed as a prized asset by head coach Marc Trestman. Trestman had an up-close view of Williams while he was the head coach of the Montreal Alouttes for five seasons.
One option for Hester could be a reunion with Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay. The two spent seven seasons together in Chicago and know each other closely.