When Devin Hester entered the NFL, he did so as a return specialist without a position. After a few seasons of trying to adjust to wide receiver, Hester is headed back to his roots. The Bears opened mini camp on Tuesday and Hester spent the day with the specialists, not the wide receivers.
According to Jeff Dickerson of ESPN Chicago, Hester did not run a single route with the wide receivers during Tuesday's practice. Instead, he spent the workout standing with the special teams specialists. The move shouldn't come as a surprise as earlier this offseason Bears head coach Marc Trestman said the Bears would use Hester strictly on special teams.
Hester made the switch to wide receiver in 2007, but never seemed to fully adapt to the position. He had a few effective seasons, but the explosive plays he made as a returner were few and far between as a receiver. He's moved down the depth chart in recent seasons and his 242 receiving yards in 2012 were the lowest of his career since moving to wide receiver full time. With Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey and Earl Bennett established at the top of the Bears wide receiver depth chart, Hester was unlikely to make a significant impact at receiver moving forward.
By limiting Hester to a return specialist role, Chicago will attempt to maximize Hester's value as a returner. At 30 years old, Hester will no longer have to shoulder two workloads and will instead be fresh for his handful of return opportunities each game. Hester did not record a return touchdown last season, but has 17 in his career including three in 2011.