Hester Off Returns?

| July 15th, 2009

Finally!  A topic!

Vaughn McClure writes in today’s Trib that Devin Hester has expressed a willingness to abandon the punt return game.  Or as Hester puts it:

“I think a return man simply has to be a return man,”
Hester said. “There’s really no other position he should go out and
play. A return man is a totally different ball game from trying to be a
return man and starting receiver, or the starting cornerback, or a
starting safety. I don’t think it’s going to work. That’s why you never
really see it last that long in the NFL. You can’t do it.

Hester goes on to say that he’d still like to achieve the all-time return record but his point above is better-taken.  Devin Hester is now expected to be the number one receiver for the Chicago Bears.  That was never asked of Dante Hall, the last player to showcase the kind of electricity Hester displays.  It was never asked of Desmond Howard, White Shoes or Mel Gray either.  Number one receiver means approaching 100 catches.  It means double-digit touchdowns.  It means never leaving the field.

I was opposed to moving Devin Hester to wide receiver because I don’t believe in tampering with greatness.  Hester’s impact on individual games had become incalculable.  When the defense got a stop on third down, the stadium rose to its feet and applauded.  Not the stop.  The anticipation.  Still, Hester has been moved and has surprised me with his capacity to be a dominant force at the position.  Be honest, does he ever look like he’s covered?  If this development continues, the return game must be sacrificed.

And with Danieal Manning’s athletic ability on this roster, how much will he be missed?