Chicago Sun-Times

Hesterized: Vasher, Bennett to step in as punt returners

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Brandon Lloyd and Marty Booker ran with the first team at wide receiver Wednesday when Devin Hester was absent.

Today, the Bears will go through punt return drills for the first time.

Nathan Vasher, you're up. The veteran cornerback will be the first to field punts. He's been a backup for Hester the last two seasons. While he's yet to return a punt in a regular season game, he did return one during preseason last year. Vasher was an All-American choice as a punt returner at Texas in 2001 and holds some Longhorns records, a proud distinction considering he followed Eric Metcalf at the school. Metcalf is one of the best returners in NFL history.

"Vasher could start for a lot of teams as a punt returner and be very good,'' special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. "He wants to do it. Everybody wants to have the ball in their hands."

Well, everybody cannot get the opportunity when Hester is their teammate. Not when he's here, any way.

Next up on the depth chart will be rookie wide receiver Earl Bennett, who stood out catching the ball Wednesday. Bennett was used occasionally in the role at Vanderbilt and Toub cited his sure hands as a strength.

"He did a real good job during OTA's," Toub said.

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10 Comments

Is it true Dusty Dvoracek is known as 'HGH' by his Bear teammates? (He Got Hurt)

Who does devin hester think he is!

Dave Toub made him. Toub is the best special teams coordinator in the game. His schemes are the reason why hester has had such great success in his first 2 years. Toub can definitely find someone to replace hester as speed isn't that hard to find in today's game. And I would love to see hester on another team where he doesn't have the best special teams blocking and schemes in the game...he wouldn't last a whole game!

If hester were smart enough to learn the playbook as a receiver, then he would deserve to get paid like one of the best receivers. Until then, pipe down and enjoy playing for the greatest special teams schemer in the NFL. Sooner than later everyone will recognize him as the dumb as rocks player he is when his speed runs out.

If the Bears front office had any clue at all, they would trade hester for a ton in return. Return men never stay healthy for long and the vast majority have very short careers...cash in now!

Also, Toub should replace the ignorant southern yokel that is lovie smith.

Of course, none of that will happen. Hester will get a big contract he doesn't deserve and then he will get hurt somewhere around week 4. Toub will not be considered to replace lovie when the bears fall flat again this year and then he will get a head coaching gig somewhere else in the nfl and thrive as the great coach that he is.

It is becoming more and more painful to be a bears fan. When will the McCaskeys sell the team to some competent owners???!!!

Devin Hester is the greatest return man that I have ever witnessed, but, last I checked, he was still under contract. Holding out is "ridiculous". This sets a precedent to other players that if you want more money, regardless of how much time is left on your contract, hold out. There should be astance that a player can ask for more money, but if they are still under contrct for more than a year, than they cannot hold out of anything. It is their job. Do thaton a 9-5 job and seeif you still have a job. Get back to work, wannabe receiver.

bob d, running back punts and kickoffs is not that easy!! Hester is only 2 returns short of setting the alltime record and he's only played 2 seasons. Sure Toub does a great job, but Hester is a once in a lifetime return man.

Bob D, lay off the sauce. I agree that Toub is a ridiculously smart coach, but Hester's talents and abilities preceded his coming to the Bears. I mean, I've seen Devin return kicks for TDs when his own team mates are either not blocking or had gotten in his way.

And not only is Hester fast, he has moves, strength, vision etc. It could be argued that Hester is great, and with Toub he becomes perfect, but no way can anyone replace Devin.

And it's funny that you mention how short some returner's careers are. B/c last I checked, the majority of guys get hurt from hits. But how can you hit a guy if you can't catch him?


all i'm saying is that he's not getting any faster. and any hit or injury that potentially slows him down destroys his only assett: SPEED.

when did he turn into jerry rice? he doesn't deserve wr $$ until he earns it. and how do we know that another fast guy couldn't come in to toub's special teams unit and be awesome?! truth is, we don't...

the value of devin hester will never be greater than it is today. why not get help for a sorry ballclub (maybe a qb. last time i checked those were pretty important) while you can before it's too late.

of course, trading hester for a bunch of draft picks will mean nothing unless the bears get someone in the front office who can evaluate offensive talent...and that will probably not happen in my lifetime

trading devin hester for a king's ransom is the right move. if you don't agree now, you will in a few months. trust me.

Hester will never leave Chicago. It doesn't matter what's happening at the current moment, the whole city freezes in anticipation when the other team is getting ready to punt or kick to #23.

He is arguably the most exciting thing in sports and also has a good character unlike, say, T.O. He's invaluable on so many different levels.

I know in the offseason it's easy to say "Shut up Hester, get back on the field or you'll be traded," but if you go back and look at his highlights...well, there's no one like him; not yesterday, not today, and probably not tomorrow.

Hey Bob.D I get the bad feeling you nevered played the game before. If you had, you would have known that kind of talent is not made by anyone except the man upstairs. The fact that everyone is geared to stop you, make it even harder still.

bob who????????? ole yeah bob dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! give HESTERthe money my God the kicker kick one ball an he has made DEVIN HESTER"S pay

The Bears are so lucky to have Earl Bennett! The guy is a great kid and catches everything. I work at Vandy and loved the Cutler to Bennett combo! I wish Earl the best!

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on July 24, 2008 10:10 AM.

Case of mistaken WR; Grice-Mullen in camp for tryout was the previous entry in this blog.

Dvoracek hopeful to be on field next week is the next entry in this blog.

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