After the firing of Lovie Smith last month, few players were as vocal with their unhappiness more than Devin Hester, who was right then at the point of being uncertain he wanted to continue in the NFL.

Some of that unhappiness is still evident as Hester told the Chicago Tribune's Vaughn McClure that a new start elsewhere in the NFL might be the best thing.

Hester is signed through the end of this season. But he didn't rule out requesting a trade at age 30, and there was no talking about any "Hester package" or other gambit to get him the ball. He's open to playing strictly as a returner at this point.

Detractors would suggest that's all he's been the past few years anyway. But many critics who fault the Smith staff for working Hester into the offense as a receiver have short memories and flawed information.

Hester's 23 receptions put him fifth on the Bears, not too far out of line with what No. 5 receivers do. Randy Moss played one more game than Hester and had 28 for San Francisco. Jacoby Jones caught 30 for Baltimore. Hester's 23 would have been sixth for Atlanta but the Falcons threw the ball 615 times vs. the Bears' 485.

Ironically perhaps, Hester's total is the lowest for a "5" for the Bears since 2005.