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Chicago Bears' Devin Hester knows he has to be better in return game

At 5-1 the Bears are in first place in the NFC North. Still, Chicago's coaching staff would still like to see improved play, especially from return man Devin Hester.

Tasos Katopodis

For years Devin Hester was known as one of the elite return men in all the NFL, but entering Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers, the Chicago Bears coaching staff would actually like to see the veteran be a bit more aggressive on special teams.

It’s something many would have never expected just a few years ago, when Hester was one of the leading return men in the history of the sport. His 17 combined kickoff and punt returns are an NFL record, but lately Hester has become a bit passive.

Most concerning to the Bears coaching staff was a play late in the fourth quarter of Monday's narrow 13-7 win over Detroit, when Hester had a chance to return a short, 35-yard punt, but instead elected to call a fair catch. Hester let a punt drop instead of signaling a fair catch earlier in the game as well.

Those are things Hester never would've done a few years back, and they caught the attention of Chicago special teams coach Dave Toub, via ESPN Chicago:

"He probably made some decisions in that game he would probably take back. He might have returned that last one possibly, but that's just the way it is. Most of the time he's going to make the correct decision. We just want him to get that aggressiveness back and we think we'll get it sooner or later."

Regardless, it's safe to say it's been a disappointing season for the 29-year-old Hester.

On the season he's averaging just 7.6 yards on his 12 return attempts, with a long of just 23 yards.

For more information on the Bears, be sure to check out Windy City Gridiron as well as SB Nation Chicago.