GM: I felt for Devin Hester

  • ESPNChicago.com | January 1, 2013

Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery said Tuesday he doesn't expect Devin Hester to follow through with talk of retirement, although Emery understands Hester's emotions after the firing of coach Lovie Smith.

After Smith was fired Monday, the 30-year-old Hester said he didn't know if he wanted to play again and had his "workers comp" papers in his pocket.

"Devin didn't come by," Emery said during a news conference. "I saw the comments. I felt for Devin. Again, I take all that in context of these guys had played a long time ... Devin came in as a draft pick with Lovie. I certainly understand the emotion. There will be a time when his emotions clear.

"Devin has come into my office and we've talked before. My door is always open, and if he wants to do that, we can have the conversation. If he doesn't, I'm open to that, too. Obviously, Devin is under contract, so if he sent his retirement papers in, I would know. But I don't anticipate that. I think he's a great competitor. I think that was an emotional situation that evoked an emotional response, and I certainly understand that."

Hester said it wasn't just Monday's news that had him thinking of retiring.

"I don't even know if I want to play again," Hester said. "That's been something on my mind for two years.

"It's not (much fun for me anymore). I've got my workers comp papers in my pocket. We'll see how I feel. I'm going to go home and talk to my wife and talk to my family and see where we go from there. I got two beautiful kids, man, two boys. A lot of stress has been on my mind lately."

Hester said he's been stressed by what's transpired on the field. After establishing himself as one of the greatest returners in NFL history, Hester tried to make the transition to impact receiver, but that never happened. He had 57 catches in 2009, but that's gone down each subsequent season, and he had 23 this season.

"Not being able to showcase my talents the way I want them to be able to be showcased, it's stressful," Hester said.

He was asked whether a change of scenery would help.

"Who knows? If it's the right place ... if not, I feel like I've done enough in the league to where I established myself (as) one of the elite players to ever play the game," he said. "God blessed me with seven years. The average years of an NFL player is about three. I made some accomplishments on my own, some goals I reached, some other goals I felt I could have achieved."

Brian Urlacher has been one of Smith's most vocal supporters and said he was shocked at the news. But Urlacher cautioned that some players would say things they didn't necessarily mean.

"We're all mad right now," Urlacher said Monday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "We lost our head coach, they fired him, and we're all mad. We're going to say some things that we don't mean."

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