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Monday, February 4, 2013
BBAO: Fresh start for Devin Hester?

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

The NFL's 2012 season concluded Sunday night with Super Bowl XLVII, although we in the NFC North have been on hiatus for a month already. Now, we all enter into the offseason mode of the kind of player movement that Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester hinted at over the weekend.

In an interview with Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, Hester said he wants to continue playing -- backing down from last month's threat to retire -- but suggested he might benefit from a fresh start with a new team.

Because he is under contract for 2013, Hester would need to convince the Bears to trade or release him in order to move on. It's not clear yet how new coach Marc Trestman would use him, but at 30, you would think Hester has several productive years ahead of him.

Hester is the best return man in the history of the NFL, and that fact alone should force the Bears to exhaust every effort to keep him. On the other hand, sitting on prominent players who want out is never a good team-building policy.

We also shouldn't disregard the financial side of this situation. Hester has only one year remaining on his contract. I'm guessing he wouldn't be looking for a fresh start anymore if the Bears offer him a market-level contract extension.

Continuing around the NFC North: