Vasher is first to sign

LAKE FOREST, IL — The Bears signed fourth-round draft pick Nathan Vasher to a four-year contract Monday. Vasher is the first of the Bears' eight 2004 draft picks to sign with the team.

The Daily Southtown reported that the total worth of the deal is about $1.8 million, which is similar to what 4th-round pick Todd Johnson received a year ago when he was the 100th overall draft choice. Vasher was the first of two fourth-round picks for the Bears this year, selected with the 110th overall pick.

The 5-10, 177-pound cornerback was a three-time all-Big XII performer during his four-year college career at Texas (2000-03). A full-time starter in each of his final three seasons, Vasher concluded his Longhorn career with a school-record 64 pass break-ups while equaling the UT mark with 17 career interceptions.

An All-American punt returner with a 15.0 yard average as a sophomore, Vasher totaled 1,314 yards on 94 punt returns during his college career, including two touchdowns. Starting 38 of his 47 career games played, the Texarkana, Texas native totaled 152 tackles during his career.

At this point Vasher is the fourth cornerback on the depth chart, but his skills as a return man is what could earn him playing time initially.

"Hopefully I can use some of my skills as far as punt returning and kick returning to make a spot on the squad and improve," Vasher said.

Vasher is just the sixth player to sign of the 255 players selected in last month's draft.

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris (1st round, 14th overall), defensive tackle Tank Johnson (2nd round, 47th overall), wide receiver Bernard Berrian (3rd round, 78th overall), linebacker Leon Joe (4th round, 112th overall), defensive end Claude Harriott (5th round, 147th overall), quarterback Craig Krenzel (5th round, 148th overall) and cornerback Alfonso Marshall (7th round, 215th overall) are the seven remaining Bears draft choices that have not signed.


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