Bears release former Pro Bowl CB Nathan Vasher

General manager Jerry Angelo said last month at the scouting combine that the Chicago Bears planned to take Nathan Vasher with them to training camp, ostensibly to see if they could reap some benefits on the contract they rewarded him with three years ago.

That plan changed less than 24 hours after the team signed veteran Tim Jennings to a contract. Vasher, a six-year veteran, was released this afternoon. The former Pro Bowl player never lived up to the five-year extension worth $28 million in new money that he received in June 2007. A torn groin muscle sidelined him for 12 games that season and he missed eight games the next year with a series of injuries, including a wrist that required surgery.

Vasher pocketed $15.6 million from the new contract in the first two seasons and collected $18.6 million before being let go. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.95 million this season, but started only two games last season and played sparingly.

He intercepted 13 passes in his first two seasons in the league and coach Lovie Smith began calling him “The Interceptor.” But after the injury, Vasher seemed to lose his confidence if not his instincts and playmaking ability.

A fresh start will probably serve him well and the Bears like their pair of big corners in Charles Tillman and Zack Bowman even if they have been injury plagued the last two seasons.

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