Dud of the Week: Devin Hester

It's safe to say that drafting Devin Hester in the second round this past April was a good idea considering he set an NFL record with six return TDs. But he's also battled a little bit of fumble-itis as a rookie and put the ball on the ground three separate times in Sunday's playoff win over Seattle. Hester is the Bear Report Dud of the Week.

If rookie return man Devin Hester does absolutely nothing the rest of his career in a Bears uniform, he will still make the short list of most electrifying players in franchise history.

Blessed with blinding speed and incredible natural ability in the open field, Hester set an NFL record with six return touchdowns this season: three on punts, two on kickoffs, and one more on a missed field goal. Five of those six scores were from longer than 80 yards, and one in particular - his punt return TD at Arizona in Week 6 on Monday Night Football - actually proved to be the game-winning margin. At just 24 years old, Hester is already considered to be the most dangerous returner in the league and has been affecting how opposing teams prepare their special teams.

Seattle's Josh Brown squibbed the opening kickoff of Sunday's playoff game, for example.

But as they say in politics, with great power comes great responsibility. Hester has the power to find the end zone every time he gets his hands on the football. Trouble is, he forgot about his responsibility to actually secure the ball in said hands during Chicago's divisional-playoff matchup with the Seahawks at Soldier Field.

Hester is the Bear Report Dud of the Week.

On three separate occasions, Hester bobbled the football and temporarily gave every member of Bears Nation a mini heart attack. He was able to recover all three of his fumbles, but those miscues pretty much eliminated any opportunity he had to make a dent on special teams. Hester averaged only 17.7 yards on three kickoff returns - none longer than 20 - and just 1.7 on three punts - none longer than five.

Nevertheless, you can bet that New Orleans head coach Sean Payton is well aware of Hester's talents and will gameplan accordingly before this Sunday's NFC Championship Game. Weather is almost certain to be a factor again at Soldier Field, too. It will definitely be cold, probably wet, and those 'K' balls have a tendency to be extra slick come playoff time.

Hold on tight, Devin. The city of Chicago's collective blood pressure is in your hands.

JC


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