Forte, Hester to retire as members of Bears

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Former Chicago Bears greats Matt Forte and Devin Hester will both sign a one-day ceremonial contract on Monday, April 23 in order to retire as members of the organization, the team announced Wednesday.

Forte and Hester each spent their first eight NFL seasons with the Bears.

The greatest return man in league history, Hester, who Chicago drafted in the second round (57th overall) of the 2006 NFL draft, played for the Bears from 2006 to 2013 where he was named First-Team All-Pro three times.

Devin Hester, who holds the NFL record with 20 return touchdowns, also amassed over 3,300 yards and 16 touchdowns as a receiver. Scott Kane/USA TODAY Sports

Hester, who was voted to four career Pro Bowls, had a team-record five return touchdowns for the Bears as a rookie, and took back the opening kickoff of Super Bowl XLI against the Indianapolis Colts 92 yards for a touchdown.

The University of Miami product also set franchise highs in punt returns (264), punt return touchdowns (13), single-season punt return touchdowns (four), kickoff returns (222), kickoff return yards (5,504) and single-game kickoff return touchdowns (two).

Hester added 255 receptions for 3,311 yards and 16 touchdowns as a wide receiver.

Hester, who also played for the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks, holds the NFL record with 20 return touchdowns.

He announced his retirement from the NFL on Dec. 12, 2017.

Selected by the Bears in the second-round of the 2008 NFL draft out of Tulane, Forte is the second-most productive running back in Chicago history with 8,602 rushing yards and 4,116 receiving yards.

At the time of his departure from the Bears following the 2015 season, Forte had led the NFL in yards from scrimmage since 2008.

Forte ranks second, behind only Hall of Famer Walter Payton, on the Bears’ all-time lists for rushing yards, yards from scrimmage (12,718), receptions (487) and 100-yard games (24). He’s third in total touchdowns (64) and sixth in receiving yards. Forte also set a single-season NFL record with 102 receptions as a running back in 2014.

Forte played his final two NFL seasons for the New York Jets.