The Bears agreed to terms with return specialist Devin Hester on a contract deal Sunday.
The team signed the explosive kick returner to a four-year, $40 million contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2013 season.
The Bears agreed to terms with return specialist Devin Hester on a contract deal Sunday. The team signed the explosive kick returner to a four-year, $40 million contract extension that will keep him with the team through the 2013 season. After arriving at camp Friday, but sitting out practice for two days, Hester was glad to get things worked out. ”The Bears have a lot of faith in me, and they feel I do a lot of things on the offensive side of the ball, so they rewarded me,” Hester said. ”I’m just happy I can come out and just play ball. I don’t have to worry about any contract now.” Hester is the 10th veteran to be re-signed by the Bears since the beginning of the off-season. He follows Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Desmond Clark, Rashied Davis, Robbie Gould, Tommie Harris, Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton and Brian Urlacher. Head coach Lovie Smith was very pleased to have Hester under contract and back practicing with his teammates. “I’m always smiling when I talk about Devin Hester,” Smith said. “Now I can smile even more.” In two seasons, Hester has 89 punt returns for 1,251 yards, seven touchdowns and a 14.1 average–highest in NFL history. On 63 kickoff returns, Hester has 1,462 yards, four touchdowns and a 23.2 average. The Riviera Beach, Fla. native has also recorded a 108-yard missed field goal return touchdown (tying a then-NFL record for longest play in league history) and a 92-yard kickoff return score on the opening play of Super Bowl XLI. In 2007, Hester received his second straight Associated Press All-Pro honor after setting the single-season NFL record with six kick return touchdowns. Hester’s four punt return touchdowns tied an NFL single-season record, and his 651 punt return yards (42 returns) and 15.5 average are the best in Bears annals. Along with his return duties, the University of Miami (Fla.) product looks to expand his role on offense for the Bears this season. ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.