Biggs: Aromashodu hidden gem in Bears' lost season

Devin Hester will return Sunday after missing the last three games with a strained left calf muscle.

It gives the Chicago Bears a double dose of Devin for the season finale at Detroit. Devin Aromashodu, a seldom-used reserve prior to Hester’s injury, has asserted himself the last few weeks. So much so that Aromashodu, a favorite of quarterback Jay Cutler, is expected to be in the mix for a starting job next season.

Hester will reclaim his starting job because the last thing the coaching staff wants to do is send him into the offseason on a bad note. But Aromashodu and rookie Johnny Knox, out with an ankle sprain, have provided the Bears with some interesting options moving forward when you consider Hester and Earl Bennett.

Aromashodu has 17 receptions for 236 yards and two touchdowns in the last three games. Forecasting those numbers over an entire season, it would mean 91 catches for 1,259 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those are the kinds of numbers the Bears haven’t had from a receiver in, well, just about ever. Marcus Robinson put up huge numbers in 1999 when he played jump ball with Cade McNown. Marty Booker caught 197 passes in 2001 and 2002, but was never used as a deep threat. Jeff Graham and Curtis Conway had good numbers for the Bears a decade-and-a-half ago.

What Aromashodu offers is something different, an option with size. He’s 6-2, 200 pounds, and he runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. Cutler took a liking to him in training camp and then a quad muscle pull just before the season started set him back and opened the door for Knox, who has been the organization’s most productive rookie wide receiver since Willie Gault in 1983. Remember, there isn’t a lot of history at the position in the franchise. Since 1973, Marty Booker (2002) is the only wideout to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

Cutler favors the bigger wideouts who he can let fight for the ball downfield. He likes to make back-shoulder throws, and Aromashodu has shown he’s ready for a bigger role. In a way, it’s an indictment of the coaching staff that it took them this long to put him to use. Aromashodu, who was signed off the practice squad of the Washington Redskins 13 months ago, will be one of the bright spots the Bears point to in the offseason when they’re looking ahead to 2010. At least they got something out of a lost season.

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