Time is the one thing not even Devin Hester can outrun. Often, athletes are struck down in a normal man's prime by age. In Hetser's case, his post-30 years may be his most difficult. With age comes injury. With injury comes decreased production. It hasn't quite happened yet, but Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that Hester's best days may be over.
Hester is one of the best. There's no doubt about that. However, at 30 years old, he is a wild card. On any one of his many kick or punt returns, he could be injured. That's what happens when players lose a step in the NFL. The speed of the NFL is almost super-human. Hester is/was almost super-human. If age is in fact catching up to him, we will miss out on one of the most exciting shows on the field. But, Hester isn't done just yet.
He has just one touchdown in the 10 games he's played this season. Hester is splitting time at wide receiver and kick/punt returner. He is averaging more kick return yards than he did a season ago, but he is averaging less punt return yards. And if you're thinking Hester's numbers are being eaten up in his wide receiver duties, they're not. Hester is averaging the fewest yards per reception of his career, and he still may not eclipse his total receiving yards of 369 last year.
It could be age. It could be injury. It could simply be less opportunity. No matter what it is, the Bears would love to see the Hester who could light the NFL on fire every Sunday. For now, they'll have to settle for the sporadic flashes of brilliance we still see from him.
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