Before the start of the 2009 season, the Bears acquired their “quarterback of the future” when they traded for Jay Cutler. It was thought that Hester would see a larger role as a wide receiver because of this. Both Cutler and Hester developed a nice rhythm as Hester went well over 500 yards catching the ball through the first ten weeks of the season. He even had a 100-yard game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
An injury to his calf caused him to miss out on three games. Hester led the team in receiving yards that season with 757 and came in second to tight end Greg Olsen in receptions. He did not participate on special teams that often due to his increased responsibilities at wide receiver. He also did not make the Pro Bowl that year. But it did appear he had a budding career as a wide receiver.
After spending some of the off-season working out with former Ram Isaac Bruce, Hester was primed and ready to increase his numbers at wide receiver. He had also hoped to make an even bigger impact on offense. Hester started off the season strong by getting a punt return for a touchdown. He returned two punts for scores against the Seattle Seahawks thrilling Bears fans everywhere.
The second touchdown he scored in that game tied the record for the most punt and kick return touchdowns in a career (combined) with Brian Mitchell (13).
His kick return duties were eventually restored and he was successful there, again, as he had some long returns. He continued to play in a dual role and had good luck as a wide receiver and a kick return specialist but his numbers at the receiver position were down. In 2010, he had just 475 yards through the air with four scores. He had three touchdowns as return specialist.
He managed to get two NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors along with a spot on the All-Pro Team and another trip to the Pro Bowl.