For the first time since 2002 the Bears did not have a return touchdown in 2012.
But that didn’t signal a poor performance on special teams in the final season under coordinator Dave Toub, who departed to rejoin longtime friend Andy Reid with the Chiefs.

As it turned out, the only way Toub was going to remain with the Bears was if he had been hired as head coach. He was one of five candidates with a special teams background that general manager Phil Emery interviewed. Joe DeCamillis was another and Emery and new coach Marc Trestman made the decision to hire him away from the Cowboys, also giving him the title of assistant head coach.

Special teams units experience great turnover on an annual basis and that will be even more prevalent this year with the coaching change. DeCamillis is excited to inherit a solid core of players. The specialists — kicker Robbie Gould, punter Adam Podlesh and long snapper Pat Mannelly — represent one of the best trios in the NFL.

Questions linger about the future of returner Devin Hester, who has let it be known he isn’t happy with his role on the team, specifically on offense with quarterback Jay Cutler. Emery might be motivated to try to add draft picks as the Bears have only five (missing a third and seventh) but dealing away the NFL’s all-time leading returner might not fetch much in return.

DeCamillis sounds different talking about Hester now then when he was hired last month. On Thursday, he was asked if he wants to work with Hester.

“I would prefer to have what is best for the Bears,” he said. “I know that is the company line but that is really the truth. I want to do what is best for the Chicago Bears and make sure whoever is out there is the best we can get.”

Last month, he said: “I definitely think he has a lot of juice left in the tank. He did not look like he slowed down. Sometimes, you’re not getting the ideal kick. Sometimes, there is one block that is missed right at the end or sometimes a guy makes a great play. I still think that guy is an outstanding returner and I am so glad to be working on that side with him rather than the other side. I can tell you that.”

Of course, in between Hester suggested he might like to be traded.