Devin Hester tries to stay patient

LAKE FOREST – Fifty-four days have passed since Bears special-teams threat Devin Hester tied former return man Brian Mitchell for the most return touchdowns in NFL history.

Not one of those days has Hester made it through without thinking of the record.

“At the end of the day, I’ve got to have patience,” Hester said Thursday at Halas Hall, where the Bears practiced outdoors in frigid weather. “The fans have got to have patience.”

Hester nearly grabbed sole possession of the record last week with a punt return against the Detroit Lions, only to be tripped up by punter Nick Harris. Instead, he will try to make history this weekend against New England in his seventh game since matching Mitchell’s record.

“I think I’m starting to appreciate it more than if I’d have broken it earlier this year,” said Hester, who is in his fifth season with the Bears. “I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much, but now I see that it’s a big thing. I’m really looking forward to breaking this record.”

Hester returned punts for touchdowns against Green Bay and Seattle this season.

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