Hester is an offensive weapon, too

Falcons wide receiver Devin Hester, after not catching a pass last season with the Chicago Bears, wanted to carve out him a niche role in the offense.

During the exhibition season, Hester has six catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns. He caught a 31-yard touchdown against Tennessee on Saturday.

“He’s a special athlete,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “I think our offensive staff has done a very good job of identifying what his strengths are and creating opportunities for him to get the ball in his hands.”

Hester caught 51 passes in 2008 and 57 in 2009. Last season, under first-year Bears coach Marc Trestman, he was not a factor on offense.

“When we signed him, first and foremost, he was a returner,” Smith said. “But the very first discussion that we had, he said ‘Smitty, I want to play wide receiver. I think I can play wide receiver.’ I was in complete agreement. When you have a guy that is that dynamic, he can add to our weapons on the offensive side, not just on special teams.”