LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears signed safety Kevin Payne to a four-year contract today. Payne was selected by the Bears in the fifth round (167th overall) out of Louisiana-Monroe, the sixth of nine players chosen by Chicago in this year's draft. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A three-time all-Sun Belt Conference selection, Payne spent his last two seasons at ULM seeing action at both safety positions after starting his career at running back, adding punting duties in his final year while also serving time as a kick returner. The versatile athlete started 38 of 43 games played in his four-year collegiate career (20 starts at safety and 18 at running back).
On the defensive side of the ball, Payne gathered 185 tackles with six interceptions, seven TFLs, four passes defensed, one sack, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. The Junction City, AR native had 45 punts in his senior year for 1,826 yards and a gross average of 40.6 yards with seven punts landing inside the 20. As a kick returner, Payne had 24 returns for 605 yards (25.2 ypr). Payne also rushed for 1,234 yards and eight TDs on 325 carries (3.8 ypc) with 54 receptions for 607 yards (11.2 ypc) and four touchdowns as a Warhawk.
Payne is the second player from Chicago's 2007 draft class to sign a contract after third-round selection Garrett Wolfe signed with the Bears yesterday to become the first of the 255 overall selections in the 2007 NFL Draft to reach agreement with his respective team.