Hester rewards teammates for Pro Bowl bid

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- One of four Bears named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster, Devin Hester catered to the kid in his teammates when selecting gifts as a token of appreciation for helping the fifth-year receiver achieve a third trip to the annual all-star game.

“I went to the hobby shop and bought everybody remote [control] cars, helicopters and airplanes -- the big ones – gas [powered] remote [control] cars,” Hester said.

The NFL announced Hester was named to the Pro Bowl roster on Tuesday along with linebackers Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher, and defensive end Julius Peppers. Hester is the only player to represent the Bears as a kick returner in multiple seasons, and leads the NFL in punt-return average (17.1 yards) and kickoff-return average (35.6).

Hester said it was long overdue that Chicago’s return game regained its reputation as one of the league’s elite.

“It’s a great opportunity to put the return game back on the map,” Hester said. “It’s something y’all [have] been looking forward to for about two or three years now. We[‘re] finally getting it going, and the credit goes out to the coaches as well.”

Hester mentioned he was excited to finally get a chance to participate in a Pro Bowl with Urlacher, who didn’t play in the game in ’06 when both were selected. Briggs became the fourth Bears linebacker named to six consecutive Pro Bowls, and Peppers was the franchise’s first defensive end named to the all-star game since Richard Dent (1993).

“It was not a surprise to me that Devin Hester, Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, and Lance Briggs were selected to the Pro Bowl,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “All four guys have played outstanding football for us this year; definitely the top of the class for us and all that.”