Devin Hester has been preparing for this all-important Bears season by spending more and more time with former Rams great Isaac Bruce.
It turns out that Hester and the ex-Rams great have a lot in common. They both play the "Z" receiver position in offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense and they both live in South Florida.
"I asked coach Martz if I could get in touch with Isaac since he was down there already and we hooked up and the guy is amazing," Hester said Sunday after approximately 200 kids participated in his football camp at Naperville North High School. "He's one of those guys who takes the time and has fun doing it. He has a passion for it. He takes time out of every day to work with me and spend time with me. It's been a big help in my life."
Hester said that Bruce, who went to four Pro Bowls with the Rams while running Martz's system, is helping him refine his skills as a receiver while he works to get in what he hopes will be the best shape of his career. Hester is hoping that de-emphasizing weight training and running more will help him excel as both a No. 1 receiver and a returner.
"The thing I really did this summer is I cut back on weight training and focused more on conditioning to really get myself an overtime workout," Hester said. "I've got to be able to play six quarters a game. I want to be able to go the whole game without being fatigued.
"I felt that I need to put extra time into conditioning because not only am I a receiver but I'm a returner and I have to be in better shape than the normal guy."
Bruce has been teaching Hester how to run better routes and some of the other finer points of playing the position.
"With the speed I have, he said it's going to be hard to stop me." Hester said. "He tells me, just from training with me, that I'm so explosive and if I can put my fundamentals together I will succeed. So that's basically what I'm doing now, brushing up my technique and trying to polish up everything and hopefully I can really translate it over to the game."