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updated: 1/21/2011 12:43 PM

How Bears' Hester turned things around

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  • Bears special teams coach Dave Toub says Devin Hester redication to the return game made a huge difference.

    Bears special teams coach Dave Toub says Devin Hester redication to the return game made a huge difference.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
 

Bears special teams coordinator Dave Toub said he saw the NFL's all-time leader in kick-return touchdowns, Devin Hester, temporarily lose faith in himself before his rebirth this season as the league's best ever.

After returning 11 punts or kickoffs for touchdowns in 2006 and '07, his first two seasons in the league, Hester was blanked in '08 and '09. Toub said the lack of success made Hester doubt himself.

"I felt him pressing," Toub said. "You could feel it in games. He would try to create things that weren't there instead of trusting the return. Sometimes he would abort. If we had a right call he would stop and say, 'I saw something left.' He'd try to do it all on his own sometimes."

Toub said Hester rededicated himself to the return game last off-season and during training camp last summer, and the result was 3 more punt-return touchdowns in the regular season, giving him 14 kick-return touchdowns and pushing him past record holder Brian Mitchell's 13.

"He's trusting his blockers now," Toub said. "He knows he's going to have room when we do our job; he's going to have room to get started. I think that's the biggest thing that's helped him."


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