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Then again, Hester has emerged from a prolonged funk before.

He went into a big one after running rampant his first two seasons, failing to return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown in 2008 and 2009 with a bigger role on offense.

Moving kickoffs up to the 35-yard line probably didn’t help, either. Hester’s own tentativeness at times and tendency to run side-to-side and backward didn’t help, and the blockers might not have been without blame, either.

Mental and physical fatigue were issues, too. It’s no secret Hester struggled to grasp the offense.

Now that he doesn’t have to worry about it, he spends more time in the weight room and getting treatment. He said his legs are fresher during the week. He has more time to focus on special teams and watch extra film with the coaches.

At practice, he has more time to work on returns.

Even so, he doesn’t regret the time on offense.

“I did have some great moments, and I did have some not-so-good moments,” Hester said. “It’s a learning experience for me. This was my first time playing receiver. It came at the highest level. … Who knows, further down in my career, I might get an opportunity to play some offense. As of right now, I prefer just doing kickoff and punt returns.”

NOTES: The Bears held CB Charles Tillman (knee) out of practice on Wednesday, but Trestman expects him to participate on Thursday. TE Martellus Bennett (shoulder) and G Kyle Long (back) were limited.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org