Harvey Unga's first child was born on the Fourth of July. He's getting married today. Thanks to the Bears, the former Brigham Young running back now has a job to support his young family.
The Bears selected Unga in the seventh round of Thursday's NFL supplemental draft, capping a tumultuous spring and summer for BYU's all-time leading rusher, who was dismissed from his college team this spring for having sexual relations with someone outside of marriage, which is considered an honor-code violation at the Mormon university.
Unga's fiance, former Wheaton-Warrenville South standout Keilani Moeaki, who played for BYU's basketball team, also voluntarily withdrew from the university. Unga met with the Bears while in the Chicago area when his son was being born. Shortly after being drafted by the Bears, Unga helped set up the tent where he and Moeaki's nuptials will take place today in Provo, Utah.
"There's always a rainbow beyond those clouds and that's where I'm heading now," a relieved Unga said.
Dallas selected ex-Illinois defensive tackle Josh Price-Brent in the seventh round, which means both the Bears and Cowboys will forfeit their seventh-round picks in the 2011 draft. Price-Brent had 71 tackles, 17 1/2 tackles for loss and five sacks before being declared academically ineligible.
It was the first time the Bears have acquired a player via the supplemental draft since its inception in 1977.
Unga rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three years at BYU before being dismissed in April. In all, the 6-3/4, 244-pounder rushed for 3,455 yards on 696 carries and 36 touchdowns during his collegiate career and caught 102 passes for 1,085 yards and nine more scores.
"Today's news should help him cover the catering cost at his wedding," joked Unga's agent, Eric Metz.
The selection of Unga was somewhat surprising given the Bears have depth at running back. Unga will compete for a roster spot with veterans Matt Forte, Chester Taylor, Kahlil Bell, Garrett Wolfe and rookie free agent Brandon Minor, formerly of Michigan.
"To be honest, I was surprised," Unga said of the Bears interest. "They're stacked up with running backs right now. They don't need another back. I'm just going to come in there and bust my butt and make the best of the situation. I told them this is something they won't regret and I'm a man of my word."
Unga has chosen his words carefully when discussing the reason for his dismissal from BYU's team but admitted Thursday that it was the result of the aforementioned honor code violation.
"It's not rocket science, obviously," he said. "It happened. It's nothing to hide. Half of the United States probably knows. I'm just trying to make the best of the situation and press forward. I'm human. I made a mistake. I'm facing the consequences. At the same time, there have been positives to what has happened."
One positive is that the couple will now be able to remain close to Moeaki's family, which still resides in Wheaton.
"He'll get a lot more sleep in training camp than he would if he were at home, anyway," Metz said.