Hester Dealing With Loss of Taylor

Former Miami tight end Greg Olsen spoke to the media Wednesday about the loss of his Hurricane teammate, Redskins safety Sean Taylor. However, Devin Hester, another proud alumnus of The U, was not ready to express his feelings. But then on Thursday, Hester opened up for the first time.

Devin Hester said he plans to fly to South Florida after Sunday's game against the Giants to attend the Monday funeral of Sean Taylor, his teammate for one year at Miami.

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.

News & Notes

  • CB Nathan Vasher (groin) practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day Thursday, and barring any setbacks Friday is expected to see some playing time on Sunday for the first time since Week 3.
  • OT Fred Miller (ankle) did not practice at all for the second straight day Thursday and appears doubtful for Sunday's game.
  • OT John St. Clair, who has started five times since joining the Bears in 2005, will start at right tackle Sunday against the Giants' Michael Strahan if, as expected, Miller (ankle) does not play.
  • DT Tommie Harris (knee) returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis after missing Wednesday's workout and is expected to play on Sunday.
  • LB Lance Briggs (hamstring) was back at practice Thursday, but on a limited basis and should play Sunday.
  • WR Devin Hester (foot) returned to practice Thursday after a one-day absence and is expected to play Sunday.

  • Is Devin Hester already the greatest return man ever?
  • An interview with running backs coach Tim Spencer
  • Ed "The Claw" Sprinkle: The Oldest Living Bear
  • A look at the autobiography Sayers: My Life and Times
  • Getting to know third-year quarterback Kyle Orton
  • All of that plus much more in the January issue of ...

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