Devin Hester delinces to address University of Miami bombshell
Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester has declined to talk about the stunning allegations of impermissible gifts that he received while playing at the University of Miami.
Nevin Shapiro, who is serving 20 years in a federal prison for his role in a series of fraud cases, alleges that he involved Hurricanes athletes in millions of dollars in illegal gifts during an eight-year period, and there is a long list of benefits he allegedly provided Hester.
Tuesday night, Hester claimed he didn’t know Shapiro, who is known as “Lil Luke.” Today, he worked to dodge the issue completely.
"Anything about Bears football I would love to talk about," Hester said.
Can he shut out external distractions?
"A lot," Hester replied. "I'm here to play Chicago Bears football. And that's what I'm doing."
Do distractions concern him?
"No," he said.
Has he talked to anyone from Miami about the allegations?
"Like I said, I'm prepared to talk Chicago Bears football," Hester said. "I'm willing to do whatever you want -- if you want to talk about Bears, I'm all down for it. But other than that, no comment."
According to the stunning report by Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, Hester received rims for an SUV he was driving, $3,000 for an engagement ring, cash bounties for performances in game, sports tickets and more.
Yahoo! has photos of Hester with Shapiro in its vast report. Shapiro claims Hester was a regular on his yacht and that Hester crashed one of his jet skis.
"Devin Hester was a really introverted kid," Shapiro said in the article. "Very quiet. (I) saw him sitting outside Larry Coker's office, where he was unsure if he was ever going to play a down of football at the University of Miami. (I) started off taking him for lunches, meeting him for dinner, coming to my house often. He stayed at my house a few times, but was in my house often. I bought him rims for his (Lincoln) Navigator, I believe it was. It was a truck.
"I was giving Devin cash. Three hundred here, $400 there, $200 there, $400 there. He was getting serious with an athlete at the University of Miami. Her name was Tamara James. We called her T.J. She played basketball. I bought him an engagement ring, which was a promise ring. I think it was about $3,000. He gave it to her, proposed at the Miami Heat playoff game seven against the Detroit Pistons, sitting up in about the 22nd to 25th row."
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune