Apr/18/13 08:44 AM Filed in: Devin Hester
Devin Hester was conspicuous by his lack of participation in the Bears' first minicamp practice under new head coach Marc Trestman.
Hester was not involved with the receivers at any time during Tuesday's practice inside the Walter Payton Center at Halas Hall.
And that was by design of the coaching staff.
About the only activity Hester had was fielding a handful of punts, although he did join other special teamers in a kick-coverage drill that involved taking a tackling dummy to the ground.
Under Lovie Smith, Hester was touted as the Bears' No. 1 receiver, and for a brief moment in time that almost seemed possible.
He caught 57 passes for 757 yards in 2009. But his receptions and yardage have plummeted in each of the past three seasons. It dropped all the way to 23 catches and 242 yards last season, when he was a mere footnote to the offense.
So for now Hester is exclusively a special-teams player.
"I'll make it clear because I have been asked that a number of times," Trestman said. "Devin is going to focus on being our returner.
"He's got to be the returner for him to be here, and once that is locked into place, which we expect that it will, then we'll see where it goes from there.
"We made a collective decision organizationally. I talked with the guys who have been here. (General manager) Phil (Emery) and I had a long conversation about it as well. Just talking to Devin, let him get back to doing what he does best first.
"Then, when that's all in place, we'll see if we need to or if we're in a position to, be able to incorporate him into doing more things."
Hester indicated that his role would expand from the current level of working only with special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis.
"During the season we're going to have stuff I'll be doing, not standing on the sidelines," Hester said. "I'll be catching punts, doing little small drills. I will stay motivated and stay conditioned.
"It's just a new year for me. Fresh start for me, new coaching staff."