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Devin Hester ‘getting better,’ but he’s mum on return to Bears

The receiver-depleted Bears could use DevHester but he can’t say he’ll be ready Sunday. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

The receiver-depleted Bears could use Devin Hester, but he can’t say he’ll be ready Sunday. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 6, 2013 10:07AM



Bears kick returner and receiver Devin Hester said he felt like he was on the field Tuesday afternoon when he took the stage at Calumet Public School District 132, where he participated in the NFL’s ‘‘Play 60’’ campaign for good health.

‘‘It kind of makes you feel like you’re in a game-type situation with the fans cheering,’’ Hester said. ‘‘They’re happy to see you.’’

But when will fans get to see him on the field again? When is he going to be healthy?

Hester sat out the Bears’ 23-17 overtime loss against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday with a concussion after missing every practice last week.

‘‘I’m getting better as the days go,’’ said Hester, who suffered his concussion Nov. 25 against the Minnesota Vikings. ‘‘I can’t really tell from this point on, but [my] progress is getting better and better.

‘‘I’m playing it safe, and when the time comes when they clear me, I’ll be ready.’’

Hester declined to say whether he plans to practice this week or how many tests he has left to pass in order to play Sunday in a rematch against the Vikings in Minneapolis. He also declined to detail the symptoms he has been experiencing, describing them only as ‘‘normal’’ and ‘‘concussion-type.’’

But his participation in Tuesday’s event — where he presented hundreds of screaming students with a $10,000 NFL Play 60 grant to promote health and wellness — and his availability to reporters afterward are good indicators he’s on the right path.

‘‘Pretty much all I know is I’m getting better each and every day,’’ Hester said. ‘‘The bigger thing is to make sure I’m healthy once I step on that field.’’

It has been an up-and-down season for Hester as a receiver and on special teams. And with Earl Bennett now sidelined with a concussion of his own and Alshon Jeffery still working his way back from knee surgery, the Bears have only three healthy receivers who have played this season: Brandon Marshall, Eric Weems and Dane Sanzenbacher.

Sitting out against an NFC opponent was difficult for Hester.

‘‘It’s been kind of frustrating knowing I can be out there helping out in any way I can,’’ said Hester, who has 18 catches, 203 yards and a touchdown this season. ‘‘At the same time, your health is important.’’

Hester said being greeted by the jubilant students Tuesday lifted his spirits.

‘‘I know the situation — when I was in their shoes, I loved seeing NFL players come out and speak to us,’’ Hester said. ‘‘I love doing this.’’



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