The Bears released cornerback Nathan Vasher, which is only a surprise because general manager Jerry Angelo indicated at the NFL Combine last month that the veteran would be with the roster when training camp opened.
Vasher was considered the team's longterm solution at cornerback when he was signed to a five-year contract extension before the 2007 season. His play declined soon after signing the deal, which a source close to the former Pro Bowl performer attributed to a "lack of confidence." Another team source said Vasher, who has 19 career interceptions, but had no more than one in any of the past three seasons, was suffering from a lack of "aggressiveness."
Vasher's lone Pro Bowl appearance came after the 2005 season when he had eight interceptions, which tied for the third most in franchise history. He set a then-record for the longest play in NFL history when he returned a missed field goal 108 yards for a touchdown in a wind-blown win over the 49ers that same season.
''He's on the roster,'' Angelo said of Vasher while speaking with reports in Indianapolis on Feb. 26. ''We've paid him his money. It doesn't behoove us to let him go. We're going to take him to training camp.''
Vasher's release was likely related to the team signing ex-Indianapolis cornerback Tim Jennings on Tuesday. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound Jennings, who was a second-round pick by the Colts in 2006, signed a two-year deal.