"I think there were some things there that they took away from our arsenal by taking him out of the return game," Muhammad said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "What he did was very special. Some of the returns Devin had [in 2006] were things that will always be in the history books. I think it's a tragedy to see those abilities taken away from him and limiting him to the responsibility of just being a wide receiver."
Hester scored 11 touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns spanning the 2006 and 2007 regular seasons, and returned a kick for a score in the Bears' Super Bowl loss to the Colts in 2007. In an effort to get his playmaking ability on the field more, Bears coaches turned Hester into a receiver before the 2008 season, and the experiment has had mixed results.
Hester has averaged 54 catches for 711 yards in his two full seasons as a receiver, but his return game has suffered. He hasn't scored a touchdown on a return since Dec. 30, 2007 against the New Orleans Saints. After returning 31 kicks without a score in 2008, Hester returned just seven in 2009 as Danieal Manning and Johnny Knox got the bulk of the work.
Muhammad, who played with the Bears from 2005-07, spent his final two seasons with the Carolina Panthers before retiring after the 2009 season.
"[The Bears] probably should have kept me for another year," he said. "I would have said that, but who am I to criticize some of the decisions that go on in the back office. Obviously they've got all the answers. In my opinion I think I still had another year of grooming [Hester] and he really needed my tutelage to help him excel to another level. Is Devin Hester going to be a great player? Absolutely, no matter where he plays. As long as he has the ball in his hands you know he has the possibility of going the distance."