- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler made it clear he wants Devin Hester to return for the 2013 season, and he acknowledged it is "safe to say" the receiver might flourish in a new offense likely to be brought in once the team hires a new coach to replace Lovie Smith.
"He's one of the most dynamic players in the NFL with the football," Cutler said Wednesday during "The Jay Cutler Show" on ESPN 1000. "So you don't want to go against a guy like that. You don't want to see him on the other sideline."
Cutler's remarks came in response to questions about Hester's recent statements in which he expressed a desire to retire from the NFL.
Responding to the news about the club's decision to fire Smith last Monday, Hester said he no longer enjoys the game.
"I don't even know if I want to play again, man. That's been on my mind for two years now. It ain't (fun)," Hester said. "So I have my workers comp papers in my pocket. (I'll) see how I feel, go home, talk to my wife, my family; see where we go from there. I've got two beautiful kids, man. Two boys. A lot of stress has been on my mind lately."
Clearly shaken by the firing of Smith, Hester said "the media, the false fans, you got what y'all wanted. (The) majority of you all want him all out."
Hester admitted his lack of production resulted in stress off the field. After establishing himself as one of the greatest returners in NFL history, Hester tried to transition over to receiver, but the move never successfully panned out. Hester caught 57 catches in 2009, but his production dropped each subsequent season, with the receiver hauling in 23 balls in 2012.
"Not being able to showcase my talents the way I want them to be able to be showcased, it's stressful," Hester said.
Hester later took to Twitter to clarify remarks about retiring.
"Let me make myself clear the reason why I feel like retiring," Hester posted. "Has nothing to do with Lovie Smith getting fired. It's hard to play the game when you're not happy and you're having fun with what you do in life."
Cutler expressed empathy Wednesday for Hester's situation, adding he hasn't yet talked to the receiver.
"I think (Brandon Marshall) went to dinner with him and talked to him a little bit," Cutler said. "I'm not for sure about that. Emotional guys. Lovie brought him in. When these things happen, sometimes you're put in front of a camera and you say things that maybe you don't mean.
"Maybe he meant it. I have no idea. Whenever you go out there and you don't do the things you think you can do on the football field, it's frustrating. Frustration builds up and builds up, and it forces you to think about doing other things I guess."