According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears kick returner/wide receiver was “devastated” upon learning of his former coach’s pink slip, so much so that he’s considering retirement.
“I don’t even know if I want to play again, man,” Hester said. “You know, that’s been on my mind for two years now.
“It’s not (as much fun anymore). It ain’t. So, I have my workers’ comp papers in my pocket. See how I feel, go home and talk to my wife, my family. See where we go from there. I’ve got two beautiful kids, man, young. Two boys. A lot of stress has been on my mind lately.”
After Smith addressed the club for the final time on Monday, Hester cleaned out his locker and displayed a “visibly crushed” demeanor when discussing the Bears’ changing of the guard.
“We already knew what the news was,” Hester said. “Just hearing it from him. The media, the false fans, you all got what you all wanted. Majority of you all wanted him out. As players, we wanted him in. I guess the false fans outruled us. I thought he was a great coach, probably one of the best coaches I have ever been around. He brought me in.”
Hester’s emotions are understandable. Smith, wildly popular with the players, was the only NFL coach he’s ever known and probably possesses a certain loyalty to him. In this instance, Hester may simply be talking from his heart, not his brain.
While he tried to qualm speculation by affirming he’s a “Bear for life,” that may not necessarily be the case.
Hester turned in a dismal 2012 campaign, hauling in 23 catches for 242 yards and one touchdown. The rapidly declining 30-year-old is due a $10 million roster bonus this offseason, money he’s highly unlikely to see.
Chicago might opt to just cut bait with Hester, provided he doesn’t hang up his cleats first.
Duncan Steel | Elite.
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