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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vasher headed to San Diego


Former Pro Bowl cornerback Nathan Vasher is close to signing a contract with the San Diego Chargers, according to a source close to the player. The Bears released Vasher 10 days ago after general manager Jerry Angelo said at the combine that the team would take him to training camp.

In San Diego, Vasher will be able to reunite with former Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2005 after his second season with the Bears playing under Rivera.

There are more familiar faces with the Chargers. Their secondary coach is Steve Wilks, who previously was on Lovie Smith's staff, along with defensive line coach Don Johnson. Vasher will find former teammates Alfonso Boone and Ian Scott on the defensive line there.

The Chargers are in need of depth at cornerback after trading Antonio Cromartie to the New York Jets. The Bears released Vasher after signing free agent Tim Jennings.

Both Brown, who the Bears are seeking to trade, and Vasher were fourth-round draft picks by Angelo. At the time, Angelo had routine success finding starters in the middle rounds of the draft. But injuries derailed Vasher's career with the Bears, starting with a torn groin muscle in 2007 just months after he had signed a $28 million, five-year extension. Later, he needed wrist surgery during the middle of the 2008 season. The injuries limited him to 11 starts over the last three seasons, a period in which he earned just more than $18 million in his new contract.

Vasher was considered a solid teammate and he never aired public grievances about losing his starting job to Zack Bowman. However, the Bears couldn't keep him as a backup this season with a base salary of $2.95 million. Releasing him when they did, as opposed to taking him to camp as Angelo originally suggested, provided him with a better opportunity to find a job. It looks like he's close to making that happen.