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Bears part ways with record returner Hester

Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester carries the ball against the Detroit Lions during the first half of their NFL football game in Detr
Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester carries the ball against the Detroit Lions during the first half of their NFL football game in Detr

(Reuters) - Devin Hester, who holds the NFL record with 18 career touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns, said on Thursday he has been informed he will not be re-signed by the Chicago Bears.

Hester has also played some as a defensive back and pass receiver in his eight seasons with the Bears but made his mark as a threat to score any time he settled under a kick and made three Pro Bowls as a returner.

The 31-year-old Hester capped off a spectacular 2006 rookie season by becoming the first player ever to return the opening kickoff of a Super Bowl for a touchdown, dashing 92 yards in an eventual loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Hester, a second-round NFL Draft pick out of Miami, is also tied with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders's career mark of 19 return touchdowns, which includes punts, kickoffs, missed field goals, fumbles and interceptions.

He will become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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