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Devin Hester: I didn't have a choice to stay with the Chicago Bears

Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Devin Hester isn't surprised that his successors in Chicago have been compared to him and what he accomplished as a kick returner in Chicago.

The 31-year-old told Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times that he was flattered and compared himself to another athlete who wore No. 23 in Chicago.

"I just look at it as a compliment," Hester told Finley. "That’s like any kid growing up playing basketball. They want to be the next Michael Jordan."

Hester signed a three-year, $9 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons in March after "it became clear the Bears didn't want him back."

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

‘‘It’s not like I had a choice to sign with them again,’’ he said. ‘‘They didn’t even call me to let me know they were willing to bring me back. I didn’t hear from them at all. It made it a lot easier for me to say, ‘OK,’ and then go look for another team.’’

Hester spent eight seasons with the Bears, and leads the league all-time with 13 punt returns for touchdowns. The returner is also tied with Deion Sanders with 19 combined kick and punt return touchdowns.

Hester also told Finley that he feels he deserves to be in the NFL's Hall of Fame after his career is over because he "pretty much (has) all the return records."

The Bears also tried Hester at wide receiver to take advantage of his speed. Hester caught 217 passes for 2,807 yards and 14 touchdowns for Chicago in six seasons at receiver.

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- Sarah Barshop

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