Hester was a freshman during Taylor's last season with the Hurricanes. The former Redskins safety, who was fatally shot Monday, made an immediate impact on Hester.
"It was the first game of the season in the Orange Bowl, and it was my first opportunity to get my hands on the ball," Hester recalled. "First play of the game, he was my lead blocker on a kickoff return. All he said was, 'Devin, just follow me. I got you.' Sure enough, the first play of the game I ran the opening kickoff back [97 yards for a touchdown] just following him."
Hester wasn't prepared to discuss Taylor's death on Wednesday, the day after it happened.
WR Devin Hester
Grant Halverson/Getty Images
"This is the first time something like this has happened [to me]," said Hester, who mentioned the possibility of dedicating his performance against the Redskins next week to Taylor. "I'm just hoping I'll be able to go out there with a clear head and play my game. I don't know what I'm going to do, but it's going to be something special."
While the Bears keep striving to increase Hester's role in the offense as a wide receiver, he was, half-jokingly, asked about playing running back with the season-ending ankle injury to featured back Cedric Benson.
"I did it in high school and a little bit in college," Hester said. "I would try. It ain't no promise that I would be successful, but I'm a team player and I would try."
It's not a far-fetched idea, given the Bears' lack of depth at running back and their desire to get the ball in Hester's hands as often as possible.
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