Devin Hester has been with the #Bears since 2006. But with no attempt to re-sign him, looks like he’ll hit the FA market. End of an era.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2014
This shouldn't come as a surprise to any Chicago Bears fans.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now, but now that it's actually being reported, it finally feels real.
Devin Hester is one of the most exciting players I've even seen in my lifetime. His returns brought a buzz of anticipation throughout an entire stadium, whether home or away.
Hester readying to return the football became must see TV as everyone would devote their full attention to the screen, just to see what ridiculous thing he would do next.
Every Bears fan remembers exactly where they were when he took the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI 92 yards for a touchdown. (I was at a friend's, jumping up and down, giving high-fives all around)
He had five total return TDs in his rookie season, and even as teams began kicking away from him, he still mustered six more in year two.
In eight seasons he returned 13 punts for touchdowns, the most all time, and five kickoffs for TDs. He was named to three Pro Bowls and to three All Pro First Teams. His 19 non offensive touchdowns is tied for best all time with Hall Of Famer Deion Sanders.
Some argue his time as a wide receiver was a failure, and I argue that he was never used properly on offense. Asking a player with limited wide receiver skills to be your #1 WR was the failure.
Hester should have been used sporadically as a wide out / running back, not featured. Get the ball in his hands a few times on offense each week by any means necessary and let his skills take over.
The Bears haven't released any official statement about his future, but it looks like his days in Chicago are over. He's close to selling his suburban Chicago home, and the rumors of him going to play for Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay have been out there since Smith was hired in January.
What are your favorite memories of Devin Hester?
And in case you need a refresher, here's a video from YouTube of the ridiculous one in action.