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Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Bears sign Brandon Hardin

By Michael C. Wright
ESPNChicago.com

The Chicago Bears completed the signing of their 2012 draft class Tuesday, when the club announced it signed third-round safety Brandon Hardin to a four-year contract.

Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Although Hardin hadn't signed a contract prior to the start of the club's three-day rookie minicamp last week, he participated in drills after signing an injury waiver.

The sides struggled to come to an agreement on a deal in part because of the wide-ranging amounts of bonus money being paid to third-round picks, and not many contracts for third-rounders had been done around the league, thus making a bonus difficult to slot.

Deals for the first-rounders and players taken between the fourth and seventh rounds, meanwhile, fell into slots, making them easier to complete.

A former standout cornerback at Oregon State, Hardin missed the entire 2011 season with a shoulder fracture, and will look to make the transition to safety for the Bears.

"Mentally, it's a little difficult," Hardin said. "Physically though, I have all the aspects to be a good safety. Now it's just learning a new position, taking in the coaching and learning the different schemes and coverages. It's been going great. I've definitely been learning a lot."

Hardin (6-foot-3, 217 pounds) posted 63 tackles at Oregon State in 2010, and looks to work his way into a rotation that includes 2011 rookie Chris Conte, in addition to Major Wright, Craig Steltz and Anthony Walters.

"In this system, the No. 1 thing the Bears pride themselves on is toughness," Hardin said. "I know being a physical safety, whether it's coming down hitting, being in the box, making secure tackles and takeaway, on this team we want to score every play. There's going to be a learning curve there. But I do have to learn as fast as I can if I want to play."