Saints punter, former Illini talks about NFC championship, Hester

By Courtney Linehan

After beating the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday, New Orleans punter and former Illini Steve Weatherford talked to the Daily Illini about this week’s game against the Chicago Bears and punt returner Devin Hester.

Q: What’s it like coming to Chicago to play for the NFC championship?

A: It’s real exciting to go back. For me it’s like going home. And of course I’m real excited to be playing for the NFC championship. Obviously, this game means a lot more than any other game we’ve played this season. But I’m not treating this one any differently.

Q: How do you prepare for a punt returner like Devin Hester?

A: He’s a great returner. He’s very talented, but you don’t prepare in one week for a guy like that. You begin preparing in mini camp, in training camp. We’re a very disciplined team. That’s why we’ve had success so far. You just have to keep that discipline.

    Subscribe to our sports newsletter!

    Q: Who’s the biggest Bears fan on the Illini team?

    A: From when I was on the team, Kyle Kleckner. We have a little bet going that Hester won’t return any of my punts more than 20 yards.

    Q: Have you had to deal with a lot of people looking for tickets to the game?

    A: Well, I’ll tell you this: I’m shutting my phone off and switching my phone number. In the last two hours I’ve gotten at least a dozen calls. So that should tell you.