Mike Nadel: Will Hester report to Bears? Flip a coin

Mike Nadel

No worries about Devin Hester's holdout. The Bears undoubtedly will fork over big money soon and, even if they don't, they always can flip a coin to decide whether Leslie Majors or Earl Bennett will return kicks.

Yes, the Bears love a good coin toss. And why not? It's fun and easy and all about luck - which, come to think of it, pretty much describes their 2001 season (until the playoffs).

Rex Grossman quarterbacked the first-team offense during Wednesday's opening day of training camp because Kyle Orton called tails and the coin came up heads. (Orton will be No. 1 today and the two then will alternate days until coach Lovie Smith names a starter.)

There's some justice in this, as Grossman made the wrong coin-flip call before the start of minicamp.

That's right, folks: It's two weeks before the first exhibition game, and already each Bears QB is 0-1. Beautiful.

Still, after going from Super Bowl losers to Just Plain losers in less than one year's time, the Bears could do worse than continue their new, improved decision-making process all season long.

For example, Lovie could toss a coin to decide his QB for every offensive series. Heads, Rex wins; tails, Kyle wins.  Either way, Smith wins - with guaranteed outstanding play by a proven NFL signal-caller. Can you say 16-0, my friends?

Offensive coordinator Ron Turner will be exhausted after determining starters at quarterback, tailback, receiver, guard and tackle, so he could get a decision-making break in games by flipping a coin before every play call.

Heads, run up the middle for no gain; tails, throw a sideline pass that gets picked off for a touchdown. This should make for a seamless transition from 2007.

Other potential coin-flip applications:

- Brian Urlacher, before each conversation with the media. Heads, he has an arthritic back condition that's worsening; tails, his back feels great and he wants another raise.

- Defensive coordinator Bob Babich, before deferring to Smith. Heads, "Brilliant call, Lovie"; tails, "Sorry, coach, I messed up."

- Offensive linemen, before every snap. Heads, false start; tails, sack.

- Anyone, before making excuses. Heads, "We miss (insert injured player's name here, most likely Mike Brown)"; tails, "It's the media's fault!"

The possibilities are limitless - and this could continue after the season, too. GM Jerry Angelo could flip a coin to decide which law-breaking miscreants he'll select in the 2009 draft.

Sorry, this column is getting a tad too "negative" for the first day of camp, when everything is happy, happy, happy! So, take it away, Rex ...

"The excitement level is way up," said Grossman, who must be thrilled to be fighting for the job he had been handed the previous four training camps.

On the field, Rex set the tone by getting intercepted on one of his first 7-on-7-scrimmage passes. While it's nice knowing some things never change, maybe it wouldn't have happened had Devin Hester been there.

The Bears reportedly are willing to pay Hester as if he were the NFL's top special-teams player (which he is).

Hester, however, wants extra dough to reflect his expanded offensive role.

Technically, the Bears have the advantage because Devin still has two years left on his ridiculously low-paying rookie contract. But Hester knows he's the league's most exciting player and, play-for-play, the most productive guy on the team. He knows he's indispensable and irreplaceable.

He also knows ownership uncharacteristically lavished megamillions on numerous players in recent months. He wants his, and who can blame him?

"I'm not coming," Hester told the Chicago Tribune. "I have to make a statement. I can't go out and play this year making $445,000. Come on, man."

Turner, practically sounding as if he were Hester's agent, said Devin has stepped to the head of the team's receiving class and soon could be an All-Pro.

Asked if he'd seen someone go from part-time offensive player to No. 1 receiver, Turner said: "I don't think I have, but I've never seen anybody like Devin Hester, either. Devin's the kind of guy, if he sets his mind to doing something, he's gonna get it done."

Does that also apply to contract negotiations? Will the history-making returner stay away until he makes financial history, too?

Hey, maybe Devin Hester is flipping a coin right now. Heads, I win; tails, the Bears lose.

Mike Nadel ( is the Chicago sports columnist for GateHouse News Service. Read his blog, The Baldest Truth, at