The first wave of free agency is over and the greatest kick returner in NFL history is still sitting out there on the open market, as Devin Hester is still available and waiting for someone to scoop him up. It must be a little humbling and a little frustrating for Hester to still be without a new team after the Bears decided to part ways with him.
As the market moves into the second wave, Devin Hester is doing a little marketing to try to make himself more appealing to other teams. Who wants to pay and hold a roster spot for a one dimensional player? Devin understands that and is trying to explain why he didn’t play wide receiver for the Bears last season:
“Me and some of the guys on the offensive side weren’t on the same page,” Hester said. “I said if we’re not on the same page we can just let me focus on kickoff and punt returns…It just didn’t click on the offensive side of the ball.”
Hester said the Bears coaching staff and head coach Marc Trestman weren’t upset by his decision.
“No, they weren’t (upset),” he said. “Coach Trestman wanted me for receiver, but I told him I’d rather just focus on kickoff and punt returns.”
So let’s get this straight. If Trestman wanted him to play wide receiver, who do you think said they “weren’t on the same page?” I think it’s Jay Cutler. Who else has a voice in the offense when the slate of coaches was completely turned over before last season? It makes sense, if you think about it, that Jay would say that. From the very first preseason game when Cutler said Hester wasn’t a “go up and get it guy” after Hester failed to compete for a jump ball that ended up being intercepted. A lot of people point to frustration with Hester’s route running. It’s classy of Hester not to throw Cutler completely under the bus.
It really surprises me that Hester wouldn’t play receiver with Trestman offering to have him. You’ve seen what Trestman’s scheme has done for the offense and I think Hester could have had a big season in the slot. The Bears were looking for another receiver to compliment the big guys – Marshall, Jeffery and Martellus Bennett – for most of the season. A deep threat with some speed to stretch defenses would have been really helpful. If Hester’s claim that he recently ran a 4.38 40-yard dash time is true, there’s no shortage of that type of speed.
Hester claims that 13 teams have contacted him, so don’t be surprised if he ends up signing a deal within the week. Rumor has it that Hester’s asking price of around $3.5 – $4 million per season might have to move before a deal gets done, regardless of whether or not he says he can play wide receiver.