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Bears, Hester parting ways

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POSTED March 5, 2014 10:55 p.m.

CHICAGO (AP) — Record-setting returner Devin Hester said Wednesday he will not be back with the Chicago Bears next season.

“From my knowledge, I know that Chicago wants to go a different route with me,” Hester told the NFL Network. “All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support. They’ve always been great to me. Always been loyal. I couldn’t have played for a better city than those guys. At the end of my career, I do want to retire as a member of the Bears.”

He added the Bears are “parting ways” with him. The team declined comment.

It looks as if Hester will hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent after an eight-year run with the Bears that produced no shortage of highlights.

He matched Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’ NFL record with his 19th return for a touchdown last season, tying his friend and mentor with an 81-yard punt return at Washington in October. It was Hester’s 13th punt return for a TD, extending his own record in that category.

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