Hester open to cutting back receiver role
"I know what I'm best at," Hester said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "The return game is my bread and butter, so if I had to cut back on my receiving and go back to returning, that's something I would love to do."
Hester scored 11 regular-season touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns from 2006 to 2007, and brought a kick back for a score in the Super Bowl in 2007.
In an effort to get his play-making ability on the field more, Bears coaches turned Hester into a receiver before the 2008 season, and the experiment has had mixed results.
Hester has averaged 54 catches for 711 yards in his two full seasons as a receiver, but his return game has suffered. He hasn't scored a touchdown on a return since Dec. 30, 2007 against the New Orleans Saints. After returning 31 kicks without a score in 2008, Hester returned just seven in 2009 as Danieal Manning and Johnny Knox got the bulk of the work.
Hester said the coaching staff makes the decisions, and he is willing to do whatever they ask.
"I would love to get back in that situation with the return game," Hester said. "But at the same time, I'm a team player so wherever y'all want me to go, I'm ready to do it."
Hester is excited to play in new offensive coordinator Mike Martz's pass-happy offense with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, with whom he said he developed a good relationship by the end of the season.
"Jay is kind of a quiet type of guy," Hester said. "You've really got to kind of pick at him to open up to you. Toward the end of the season we bonded, got on the same page, and I'm hoping that continues throughout the rest of my career and his."
Hester is optimistic about the Bears' chances with Martz calling plays.
"We have a lot of quiet weapons on offense, and we're going to shock a lot of people," Hester said. "When you spread the type of guys we have, when you spread them out across the field it's going to be real hard to stop us."