Quarterback Jay Cutler was ‘‘the worst’’ when it came to leadership, former Bears star Devin Hester told Bleacher Report’s ‘‘Untold Stories.’’
‘‘He’s the best quarterback when it comes to accuracy, power, knowledge of the game — the best quarterback, hands down, I’ve ever played with,’’ Hester told host Master Tesfatsion. ‘‘Now when it comes to leadership? The worst. . . . He don’t know how to communicate. He don’t know how to get his teammates involved.’’
The fractured relationship between Cutler and Hester was never a secret, particularly when it came to Hester’s receiving skills failing to match his return-game prowess.
Hester, the NFL’s all-time leader in return touchdowns, said he thought he would be one of the Bears’ top receivers when he signed his first contract extension with the team in 2008. He claimed Cutler played favorites, though.
‘‘He’s not really a sociable guy,’’ Hester said. ‘‘He’s not a talker. He picks one or two guys, and he leashes on them and separates them from everybody else.’’
Hester told a story about how, one day before practice, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall warmed up with Cutler and praised him, saying he helped make the quarterback’s career.
Hester became so convinced that Cutler would choose to throw to Marshall during that practice that he said he made a bet with defensive end Julius Peppers: Peppers would pay him $50 every time Marshall caught a pass, and Hester would pay Peppers $100 for every completion to anyone else on the team.
The bet got called off, Hester claimed, after Cutler threw 21 consecutive passes to Marshall. He said he was frustrated that coaches didn’t step in.
‘‘Ain’t nobody said nothing,’’ he said. ‘‘That’s what really pissed me off.’’
Hester retired after the 2016 season as the greatest return man of all time. With the Bears, though, he never became a receiving star, catching 217 passes for 2,807 yards in eight seasons.
Hester also reiterated what he has said for years — that he believes he belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.