Sayers says Hester looks afraid

Devin Hester has been getting blistered for failing to deliver big runbacks on kicks this season, and now Chicago Bears great Gale Sayers is piling on.

"It looks like he's afraid to run back kickoffs," the Hall of Famer tells the Chicago Tribune's Fred Mitchell.

In terms of technique and strategy, Sayers says the problem is that all of Hester's returns have been made to the middle of the field, and that he hasn't tried to break outside.

"He's running straight up the field and everybody is tackling him," says Sayers, who was an outstanding kick returner in his seven-year career.  "He looks like he's afraid to go out on his own."

"Run to the left," Sayers says emphatically.  "You have the whole field!"

Hester returned 11 kicks for touchdowns his first two seasons, but has none this year. Sayers suggests the punishment Hester is taking while playing more at wide receiver also could be a factor.

"Does that have anything to do with him as a return player now because he takes the hard shots? Maybe he doesn't like getting hit . . . I don't know."