LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Devin Hester is done returning kicks in Chicago.
The Bears confirmed Thursday that they are parting ways with the three-time Pro Bowl pick after eight seasons, confirming what he told the NFL Network the previous day. So instead of a return to Chicago, he'll hit the market as a free agent.
General manager Phil Emery said it had been an honor to have Hester on the team.
"While Devin has redefined the pinnacle standard of the return position in the NFL, the memories and contributions he has given us cannot be measured by stats or numbers," he said. "Not only is Devin a special player, he is also an exceptional person. He is a great teammate, husband and father. Devin represented the organization off-the-field as well as he did on it. When his career is over, he will always be a welcome member of the Bears family."
Hester matched Hall of Famer Deion Sanders' NFL record with his 19th return touchdown last season, tying his friend and mentor with an 81-yard punt return at Washington in October. It was Hester's 13th punt return for a TD, extending his own record in that category.