Seattle will kick to Devin Hester

Updated: January 13, 2011, 1:17 AM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that Devin Hester is the Chicago Bears player who most concerns him, but Carroll will not punt away from Hester on Sunday at Soldier Field.

"We've got to kick the ball to him," Carroll said on "The Afternoon Saloon" on ESPN 1000. "There's nothing we can do about it.

"We'd like to not [punt], though. That would help us."

Hester, who owns the NFL record for most touchdown returns, took a punt back 89 yards for a touchdown on Oct. 17 when the Seahawks beat the Bears 23-20 at Soldier Field.

"What a great, great player," Carroll said. "What a treasure he is for the Chicago fans, to be able every time someone kicks him the ball, you think he's going to score a touchdown.

"We have a little of that with Leon Washington, he has all of that there. He's the real deal, best ever."

Some coaches have vowed not to kick to Hester, preferring to punt out of bounds and yield field position, rather than taking a chance. New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said he wouldn't punt to Hester, then he did and watched Hester return it 38 yards.

"We want to try to minimize his factor. ... We'll do the best we can," Carroll said. "You have to be very disciplined about the way you play him. He's just too good. And he's so explosive. So we're going to do a great job, I hope, of covering and placing the ball where we want to and doing all the things that you need to do so we can maximize our chance of slowing him down."