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Bears KR Devin Hester: Team wants to go a 'different route'

Three-time Pro Bowler Devin Hester had 1,436 kickoff return yards last season. (AP Photo/David Richard) Three-time Pro Bowler Devin Hester had 1,436 kickoff return yards last season. (AP Photo/David Richard)

On Wednesday, Chicago Bears kick returner Devin Hester said he will not be with the team next season.

Hester has spent his entire eight-year career in Chicago and is tied for the NFL record for combined returns for touchdowns with 19. He holds the NFL record with 13 career punt returns.

Hester, 31, spent time as a wide receiver for a few seasons, but did not catch a pass last season, focusing mainly on kickoff and punt returns.

"I know that Chicago wants to go a different route. All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support. They've always been great to me," Hester said Wednesday on NFL Network. "Always been loyal. I couldn't have played for a better city. ... At the end of my career I do want to retire as a member of the Bears."

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He said it was "possible" he could be reunited with former Bears coach Lovie Smith, now in Tampa.

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