Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The most prolific return man in NFL history
will have to find a new home if he intends to play next season.
The Chicago Bears announced Thursday that Devin Hester will not be re-signed,
making the 31-year old an unrestricted free agent on Mar. 11.
"For the past eight seasons we have been honored to have Devin Hester as a
part of our organization," Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said.
"While Devin has redefined the pinnacle standard of the return position in the
NFL, the memories and contributions he has given us cannot be measured by
stats or numbers."
Hester is the NFL's all-time leader in punt return touchdowns (13) and total
kick return touchdowns (18). Including his 108-yard missed field goal return
touchdown, Hester's 19 overall return touchdowns are tied with Hall of Famer
Deion Sanders for the most in regular-season history. When adding Hester's 92-
yard kickoff return touchdown to open Super Bowl XLI, his 20 overall return
touchdowns (including the postseason) are an NFL record.
"Not only is Devin a special player, he is also an exceptional person," Emery
added. "He is a great teammate, husband and father. Devin represented the
organization off-the-field as well as he did on it. When his career is over,
he will always be a welcome member of the Bears family. We thank him for his
dedication and wish him and his family all the best."
In 123 games played (46 starts) over eight seasons (2006-13), Hester's 3,241
punt return yards are eighth most in NFL history and his 12.3 punt return
average ranks fifth.
He is the Chicago's all-time leader in total return touchdowns, punt return
touchdowns, punt return yards, kickoff return yards (5,504), total kick return
yards (8,745) and second in all-purpose yards (11,632).
As a receiver, Hester had 217 receptions for 2,807 yards with the Bears.
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