Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester (23) looks for running room during an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
The Chicago Bears headed into the 2014 offseason with a lot of questions as to who will be on their roster when the team convenes for training camp in July, and one of the biggest question marks is the one following the name of kick returner Devin Hester.
Hester, who has 13 career punt returns for touchdowns (including an 81-yarder against the Washington Redskins in the 2013 campaign) and has five more kick returns for touchdowns, could be on his way out of town as it seems like the team might let him test the waters of free agency.
As Dan Widerer of the Chicago Tribune points out, the Bears might give a look to Chris Williams, a receiver that they signed off the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad the last week of the regular season, and that spirit of looking at cheaper options might mean that Hester’s days in the Windy City are over.
Even Hester seems as though he might be resigned to his fate. On Sunday, he posted this picture to his Instagram account:
The caption to the photo reads "To all my true Chicago fans, its not up to me whether I stay, its up to the coaches and guys upstairs n the Chicago Bears front office. #Beardown."
As weird as it would be to see Hester returning kicks in another team’s uniform, the fact of the matter is that the Bears have got to be looking very closely at how they are allocating salary cap space due to the constraints put on them by some of the bigger contracts they have on the books, and if they choose to pay Hester, that limits their options in other areas.
A reunion with Lovie Smith down in Tampa Bay could always be in the cards for Hester if he doesn’t end up rejoining the Bears next season, but as of right now, his future is unclear as the Bears evaluate their financial obligations.