Record-setting returner Devin Hester said Wednesday he will not be back with the Chicago Bears next season.
‘‘From my knowledge, I know that Chicago wants to go a different route with me,’’ Hester told the NFL Network. ‘‘All I can say is thanks to the fans for their support. They've always been great to me. Always been loyal. I couldn’t have played for a better city than those guys. At the end of my career, I do want to retire as a member of the Bears.’’
He added the Bears are ‘‘parting ways’’ with him. The team declined comment.
Hester matched Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’ NFL record with his 19th return for a touchdown last season, tying his friend and mentor with an 81-yard punt return at Washington in October. It was Hester’s 13th punt return for a TD, extending his own record in that category.
He has also returned five kickoffs and one missed field goal for touchdowns.
Hester expressed interest in joining former coach Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay.
Broncos to release Bailey
Denver has informed Champ Bailey he will be released.
Bailey suffered through injuries in 2013 but returned in time for Denver’s Super Bowl appearance. He could contemplate a switch to safety if he opts to continue his distinguished career elsewhere.
Bailey, a former first-round pick of Washington, was dealt to the Broncos in 2004 as part of a blockbuster deal for Clinton Portis.
Browns cut troubled Bess
The Browns released wide receiver Davone Bess, ending his stay in Cleveland after less than one year and following a pattern of bizarre behavior that included his arrest for assaulting a Florida law enforcement officer at an airport in January. It was later learned Bess had a run-in with police shortly before he was traded to Cleveland and his family had him hospitalized against his will.
The 28-year-old Bess, who was acquired last April in a trade with Miami and immediately signed to a three-year, $11.5 million extension that included $5.75 million guaranteed, finished with career-lows in catches (42) and yards (362) last season.
Vick won’t return to Eagles
According to league and team sources, the Eagles will not bring back Michael Vick after deciding to go in a different direction with the backup quarterback spot.
Sources say Vick’s injury history has given the team pause, and he will explore his options in free agency. The Jets, Raiders and other teams are monitoring Vick.
Steelers ink Polamalu, Miller
Eight-time Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu, 32, and tight end Heath Miller, 31, both signed new three-year contracts designed to give the Steelers some cap relief.
The deals came hours after the Steelers re-signed safety Will Allen, making it unlikely they’ll bring back safety Ryan Clark.
The Steelers also cut linebacker Larry Foote, cornerback Curtis Brown and offensive tackle Levi Brown.
Bills give Williams four years
The Bills signed safety Aaron Williams to a four-year, $26 million extension. A person with knowledge of the contract said Williams is guaranteed $14.625 million. Buffalo is also postponing its annual game this season in Toronto, where they've gone 1-5, and team president Russ Brandon did not rule out ending the series despite four years remaining in the deal with Toronto-based Rogers Communications . . . After being reinstated by the league on Tuesday, cornerback Brandon Browner learned he will be suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season and will have to play an additional four games without pay . . . According to sources, cornerback Cortland Finnegan has been told he will be released by the Rams. An official announcement isn’t expected until next week, but Finnegan tweeted a thank you to St. Louis fans, an apparent nod to the fact he had been notified.