Devin Hester Would Embrace Lovie Reunion

March 6th, 2014
devin hester lovie smith

Money is the mystery

It seems famed kick return specialist Devin Hester and Florida native Devin Hester would welcome a reunion with his former Bears coach, current Bucs head coach Lovie Smith. But do the Bucs want to revisit the relationship?

Yesterday, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport crushed and quashed the dreams of many Bucs fans hoping free agent return wizard Hester would want to come to Tampa Bay. Rapoport hinted there isn’t much interest from the Bucs.

Thus far, a potential reunion is a one-way street, with Hester making no bones about wanting to come back to his home state and play for Lovie. Speaking as part of an in-studio panel on NFL Network’s “Total Access,” Hester stated his days with the Bears are over and if Lovie calls, he would love nothing more than to move to Tampa Bay, documents Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports.

But his former coach, Lovie Smith, has landed in Tampa Bay and could provide a landing spot. The Buccaneers were only so-so on returns last season with second-year receiver Eric Page primarily handling those duties. Hester averaged 27.6 yards per kickoff return and 14.2 yards per punt return last season, and his 81-yard punt return score against the Redskins tied Sanders’ all-time mark.

If he breaks Sanders’ mark, it will be with another team. Hester talked about a possible Lovie reunion in Tampa on the broadcast.

“I look at Lovie as my number one coach right now,” Hester said. “Because he’s the one that took a chance on me coming out of the draft. He has all of my respect so if he’s a guy who is going to shoot at me and want me to come play with him again, my arms are open.”

The trick to this issue is how much Team Glazer has to open its checkbook? Perhaps, per Rapoport, the reason the Bucs are less than lukewarm to Hester is his asking price? Sure, players always have favorite coaches or preferred teams, but at the end of the day, it is all about either Benjamins or winning, or both.

There are probably a bunch of teams that were either in the playoffs last year or on the cusp of the playoffs that could use Hester. And there are teams, the Raiders for example, that are so far under the cap they could offer Hester an extraordinary contract.

So while Hester says he wants to play again for Lovie, that’s a far cry from actually suiting up in those, um, er, unique new Bucs uniforms.

21 Responses to “Devin Hester Would Embrace Lovie Reunion”

  1. Patrick in VA Says:

    The raiders won’t get both Hester and McCluster and I’d be happy with either. Both have ties to FL. I guess it depends on which one it’s more coveted by those deep pocketed teams. Hester is a one trick pony but he’s one of, if not the, best return men ever. At least Dexter gives you a little something out of the backfield

  2. Drew H. Says:

    and you’re welcome!

  3. Drew H. Says:

    lookout for a team like denver or new england on hester too.

  4. biff barker Says:

    Dexter McCluster is a better option IMO.

  5. flmike Says:

    I might get a chance to ask Hester personally, he and about 40 other current and ex-players will be here for a charity event, if I get a chance to ask him a question, I definitely will.

  6. Kevin Says:


  7. MTM Says:

    Hester and McCluster are huge upgrades over any return man in Bucs history. Better field position can help win close games. Get it done Lovie!

  8. Getaclue Says:

    Either would help provide speed in space also

  9. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Aren’t teams allowed to start talking to potential free agents on Friday but can’t actually sign anyone until Tuesday?

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I have to ask. Why would ANYONE want to play for the Raiders? To be they are the ugly ducklings of the NFL (new Bucs uniform aside). They could offer me ten million per year and I would refuse.

    I would also refuse the Falcons, Saints and Panthers, for obvious reasons.

  11. Nic Says:

    I wouldn’t break the bank to get him. With kickoffs being moved up, Hester’s value comes more from punt returns as most of his K.O. returns will wind up being touchbacks. If he wants to play for Lovie again, and is willing to be realistic about his current value, then I really hope we can get him.

  12. Architek Says:

    For the right price –

  13. Mike Glennon Fans Says:

    All the previous talk about Hester not coming here probably means he is coming. Everything you hear from now until the draft are all lies trying to throw other teams off of what they want to do. Hester would be a welcomed addition as he will help both the offense and ST Mike Glennon Fans-FaceBook

  14. terraj35 Says:

    Hester would play for anybody who wants him. He’s an aging return man. His biggest strength is his speed and he’s losing it by the day. Pass on Hester

  15. Snook Says:

    McCluster will get more money from somewhere else. Too much money probably.

    I’d take Hester. Still was a top 5 returner last year.

    And he’s come somewhat cheap.

  16. THETRUTH Says:

    Losing speed ???? Dude is a threat everytime he touches the ball. Ask every special team coach and he sill has top numbers and played part-time. He wants Tampa go get him Lovie , it will better field position instantly for Bucs. See how many punters shank a kick trying to avoid him getting it.

  17. Glennon Mob Says:

    Joe, couldn’t you make these excuses for every free agent out there? And for excuses I mean our lack of money and not being close to a super bowl.

    No team is really going to pay top dollar to sign him.

    Also, having Lovie as our coach makes Tampa an attractive spot to play.

  18. (Not so)PewterPirate Says:

    I’d take McCluster, even for a little more money. He’s younger, just as good in the return game and has flashed more in the receiving game. He would be an explosive slot guy to match with VJax and Williams.

  19. Tomcin Says:

    I would give Hester no more than vet. min.

  20. Barry Says:

    Sign both

  21. Rob Says:

    Why not both? We could use both with McCluster being used more in our offence like a Sprolls type of role, and Hester being used on Special Teams.