Originally posted on Midway Illustrated  |  Last updated 12/24/12

DETROIT - JANUARY 3: Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears looks on during the game against the Detroit Lions on January 3, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Perhaps no player personifies the Lovie Smith era in Chicago more than Bears wide receiver and kick returner Devin Hester.  Hester has been brilliant at times, the best return man in the NFL.  Hester may go down as the best of all-time, but as a wide receiver he's been an abject failure.   Hester's days as a player in Chicago are numbered, regardless of what his contract number is for next year.  His strongest asset was his kick return skills have now been exposed to be severely diminished.   There are some fleeting points this season that he has shown an ability to get decent yards in the return game.  However what made him one of the greatest, that gear is no longer there.   Far too many times this season we've seen Hester inexplicably run backwards and sideways trying to pick up extra yards, and in the process he's been dropped for a negative return.  Hester no longer has that instant acceleration, that ability to cut on a dime without breaking stride.   To put it simply, Hester is mortal as a kick returner and he doesn't yet know it.   Even worse his lack of ability as a receiver have been magnified to the point that you wonder why he even receives reps as a WR.  Hester can't run routes, he rarely catches passes and is no longer a deep threat.   Everything that used to make Devin Hester a game-breaking threat, and was reason to get the ball in his hands is gone.  As a result, Hester should be gone too.   The problem is, Lovie Smith likely won't be able to be the coach to make the right decision to part ways with Hester. Dumping Hester likely remains the only option as well, he doesn't have any trade value, he barely had trade value when he was at the peak of his abilities.   The bottom line is Hester has become ridiculous in another way, a ridiculously bad player who no longer adds value to the Bears.
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