Devin Hester honored to be No. 32 on NFL Network list

Devin Hester called it a blessing to be ranked No. 32 in the recent Top 100 poll of players the NFL Network conducted.

The list drew a good deal of scrutiny, but any kind of ranking is going to have those who agree and disagree.

Hester’s position was surprising to some because he had only 40 receptions for 475 yards last season and four receiving touchdowns. But what makes the Chicago Bears standout so explosive is his return ability, and Hester set the all-time record for total return touchdowns with three more punt returns for scores in 2010.

It was a blessing to be among the top players who made the top 100,’’ Hester told Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune. “Not even just the top 100, but even some of the guys who didn’t make it. I felt there was like 300 more guys who should have been on the list, so that means a lot for me to be at No. 32.

“It’s a great feeling to know my peers feel like that about me. Just a great honor.’’

Hester’s playing time for this coming season will be interesting to track. He started 13 games last season and was in on 66 percent of the offensive snaps, second to only Johnny Knox on the team. Some believe offensive coordinator Mike Martz will look to feature Earl Bennett more this season at the expense of some playing time for Hester. Bennett, who was a starter in 2009, was in on 49.3 percent of the offensive snaps a year ago.

We’ll find out more when training camp finally rolls around. The Bears are scheduled to report to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., on July 22 – two weeks from today. Hester and other skill position players did some work with quarterback Jay Cutler trying to fine tune things this offseason.

“Just running routes on air and consistently getting a feel for what your weakness are and what you need to improve on as far as routes,’’ Hester said. "The more you run those routes, the smoother you are. That’s what helped me the most.’’

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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