Under the proposed change, teams would kick from the 35-yard line instead of the 30, and put touchbacks on the 25-yard line instead of the 20. The idea is to encourage touchbacks, limiting the injuries that come from two lines of players running full speed at each other. But that could also hurt the effectiveness of Devin Hester, the Bears return touchdown king.
And Hester isn't happy about it. He tweeted, "I see the NFL is trying to take the kickoff game out. They already punt out of bounds. What's next?"
Because of the lockout, Hester hasn't been able to talk to any of the Bears brass about the proposal. But Bears presidents Ted Phillips seems to be in lock-step with his return man about the changes.
"I don't want to say anything definitively before we have gotten in the meetings. So I would say that we'll listen to the arguments, but we're a little surprised by the proposal and we'll probably be against it. With our return game being such a big part of our offense, I would tend to think we would vote against it," Phillips said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
Both Phillips and Hester are correct to be concerned about the proposed changes. The only thing the proposal is missing is, "Don't let Devin Hester on the field." The Bears relied on special teams this past season. They were second in the league in kickoff returns, making 25.4 yards per return.
The good news is that the proposed changes are only a proposal. The Bears still have an opportunity to lobby and stop them from going through, thereby keeping Hester a happy returner for years to come.