Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Hester's special teams role could grow
By Jeff Dickerson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – There is a possibility Devin Hester could be asked to do more than return kicks next season for the Chicago Bears.
Devin Hester is only working with the special teams unit during this week's minicamp.
In addition to serving as the Bears' primary return man, Hester lined up on the second-team kickoff and punt-team coverage units during the second day of the team's voluntary mini-camp.
While the Bears already have a strong nucleus of special teams tacklers already on the roster, such as Blake Costanzo, Eric Weems, Zack Bowman, Sherrick McManis and Craig Steltz, special teams coach Joe DeCamillis said after the workout the Bears are evaluating Hester for an expanded role on special teams, seeing as how he no longer participates on offense or sits in on offensive meetings.
"He's definitely going to be fresher to do those things," DeCamillis said of Hester covering kicks. "Again, that's something we are evaluating right now and still working on all those things. He'll be working on all the cover teams, and he'll also be working on other things for us too. He's a great weapon, and we want to try and use him as much as we can."
Although Hester rose to NFL stardom due to his ability to avoid tacklers, he does have experience on defense and actually entered the league in 2006 as a cornerback. Hester had 11 tackles his rookie season before the Bears moved him to wide receiver the following year, but at least there is some history of Hester attempting to take down a ballcarrier in live game action.
Regardless of how serious the Bears are about having Hester cover kicks, DeCamillis said the three-time Pro Bowl return man reported to the offseason program sporting a terrific attitude.
"Change is hard for a lot of people," DeCamillis said. "We all have to go through it in this league. He probably said too much at the start (of the offseason), but he's in a great frame of mind right now and we want to get him back to where he was."