Chicago Bears returner Devin Hester changed his mind about retiring but said he might be better off with another team.
Hester said at the end of the season that he would retire after coach Lovie Smith was fired. He changed his tune in Monday’s Chicago Tribune, saying that he thinks a “fresh start” with another team might be best for him.
He also said he would no longer be interested in playing wide receiver if he plays for the Bears.
“I’m going to try to get two or three more years in,” Hester said. “I think I have that much left in me.
“At the same time, I think I do need a fresh start.”
Hester, 30, struggled as a receiver in 2012, catching just 23 passes for 242 yards.
“To be honest with you, if I’m still here, I don’t want to play offence,” he said. “I don’t think my role (on offence) will fit. I can’t truly say that with the new offence, but from past experience, I don’t think it will fit.”
Hester is set to make $2.1-million this year, the final year of his contract. He said he may ask to be traded.
“It’s a possibility,” he said. “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.”
Hester has an NFL-record 12 punt returns for touchdowns and he is one touchdown return (kicks and punts combined) away from tying Deion Sanders for the most in league history with 19. However, he has gone 25 games without a TD return.
Hester added wide receiver to his duties in 2007 and had a career-best 57 receptions in 2009. But those numbers have decreased since then and he was targeted only 40 times last year.