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Bears’ Hester slapped in the head at Des Plaines casino, man charged

Chicago Bears wide receiver DevHester (23) makes 48-yard touchdown receptifront MinnesotVikings cornerback Cedric Griff(23) first half an NFL football game

Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23) makes a 48-yard touchdown reception in front of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin (23) in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

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Updated: November 20, 2011 8:50AM



Bears wide receiver Devin Hester was assaulted in an incident at a casino in Des Plaines that was caught on video, and a Mount Prospect man has been charged with a misdemeanor count of battery in the attack.

When Hester’s returning kicks, opposing defenses can’t seem to lay a hand on him. But Des Plaines police Chief Jim Prandini said Tuesday that Daniel Rago did just that, slapping the Bears star in the back of the head with his hand while Hester was in a cashier’s line around 10:40 p.m. Friday at the Rivers Casino, 3000 S. River Rd. Rago, 52, then walked away, Prandini said.

He said the incident was captured on a surveillance camera and that Hester didn’t retaliate. “There was no incident” between the two men that preceded the slap, “and no physical confrontation between them,” afterward, Prandini said.

“The biggest thing is, Devin had the presence of mind not to retaliate,” said Hester’s agent Eugene Parker. “You’re talking about a football player, who goes to battle every week.”

“Mr. Hester was extermely professional,” Prandini said, notifying casino security and signing a complaint against Rago.

Security officers took Rago, 52, to a holding area until the police arrived and arrested him.

Prandini said Rago gave no reason for hitting Hester. Rago “had been drinking,” the chief said.

Rago was released on bail pending a court hearing in Skokie in December.

No one answered the door Tuesday evening at Rago’s home, which has a Northwestern University Wildcats’ flag out front, as well as what appeared to be a vintage baseball stadium seat.

His neighbors were surprised to hear that their friendly, Chicago sports fanatic neighbor could possibly have slapped the Bears’ star football player.

“He’s a very nice guy. . . . As far as being aggressive — not at all,” said neighbor Kathy Connolly. She said Rago, a Cubs season ticket holder, often offers her tickets when he can’t use them.

The incident at the casino didn’t seem to hurt Hester’s performance Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings. Hester ran back a kick 98 yards for a touchdown and caught a 48-yard pass for another touchdown.

Contributing: Stefano Esposito



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