BBAO: Devin Hester's 'prove-it' camp

July, 24, 2013
7/24/13
8:00
AM ET
We're Black and Blue All Over:

A report that Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester has joined the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson in racing a cheetah -- ! -- merits a review of Hester's unique situation entering training camp.

Hester threatened retirement in the wake of the firing of coach Lovie Smith but later re-committed to the team under new coach Marc Trestman. But Trestman has removed him from the receiver group and made him a full-time returner, a relatively unusual luxury in today's NFL. Trestman and general manager Phil Emery have been careful to say that Hester must win a spot on the roster, which is technically the case for every player but not usually something verbalized about someone who has been one of the best in football history at his position.

Hester is due to earn $2.1 million and count nearly $3 million against the Bears' salary cap. If he proves to be the dynamic returner of old, those figures might not be a problem. But if he's not? That's what training camp is for, I guess.

Continuing around the NFC North:

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