The Bears’ wide receiver/kick returner told the Chicago Tribune that he indeed has some gas left in the tank, but is seeking a “fresh start.”
“I’m going to try to get two or three more years in,” Hester told the Tribune on Saturday. “I think I have that much left in me.
“At the same time, I think I do need a fresh start.”
The 30-year-old, who has one year and around $2.1 million remaining on his contract, wouldn’t rule out a change a scenery, either.
“It’s a possibility,” Hester said of a trade. “I’m loyal to my team. But the fans and my teammates have to understand where I’m coming from. I don’t want to walk away from this game with another season going the way it ended this year. … It might have to take a fresh start somewhere else.”
Shortly after the season ended, the Bears surprisingly fired head coach Lovie Smith. The move had such an impact on Hester that it “devastated” him, and retirement began to creep into his mind. While that flirtation has lessened, he isn’t exactly optimistic in regard to new coach Marc Trestman’s offense.
“To be honest with you, if I’m still here, I don’t want to play offense,” Hester said. “I don’t think my role [on offense] will fit. I can’t truly say that with the new offense, but from past experience, I don’t think it will fit.”
Hester admitted that he wasn’t always emotionally vested in games, especially if he wasn’t involved on offense.
“I know some of the plays I should have made in terms of catching the ball. But I just wasn’t feeling it,” Hester said. “My mind wasn’t there the majority of the time.”
It’s refreshing that Hester has come to grips with his struggles, but his seemingly me-first attitude won’t do much to win over Chicago’s new coaching staff or increase his trade value.
Despite his accomplished kick-return history, no team — the Bears or otherwise — will be jumping through hoops to please a declining, part-time wideout.
(Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)