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Hixon could be best bet to replace returner Hester

Updated: April 15, 2014 6:31AM

The Bears added another participant in the race to replace legendary return specialist Devin Hester, reaching a deal with veteran receiver Domenik Hixon on Thursday.

“We’re certainly going to give him an opportunity to return some kicks in practice and see what it looks like in preseason,” general manager Phil Emery said.

Hixon’s top competition will be second-year running back Michael Ford and former Canadian Football League star returner Chris Williams.

Hixon is, by far, the biggest (6-2, 205 pounds) and most experienced (136 total returns and 2,563 total return yards) of the three. He’s also not long-removed from having 39 catches for 567 yards in 2012 for the New York Giants.

“Obviously, we like his size,” Emery said. “He has got huge hands, great straight-line speed. He’s been a good teams player. He has returned kicks. It’s up to him to find his spot on the squad and that opportunity with the Bears.”

Checking on Charles

Cornerback Charles Tillman recently visited the Buccaneers and former Bears coach Lovie Smith, but he is believed to have left Tampa Bay without a contract.

Emery, though, didn’t have an update on Tillman’s situation. The Bears have expressed a desire to re-sign the 33-year-old but are waiting for his market to set after he made $8 million in 2013.

“It’s an ongoing process,” Emery said.

He’s baaack

As expected, the Bears ­re-signed tight end Dante Rosario two days are releasing him and not long after ­originally ­signing him on Feb. 27. It’s thought that the move was part of a contract issue.

“We like Dante,” Emery said Wednesday. “It isn’t anything that he did.”

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