Chicago Bears Undrafted Free Agents: Tracking the Latest Signings
Over the past 30 years, the NFL has turned what was just hours and hours of a bunch of old guys in suits in a hotel ballroom into a national prime-time red-carpet Radio City Music Hall gala event.
What happens after the fanfares fades and the Klieg lights go dark, though, hasn't changed one bit.
Across the nation, some college football players are glued to their phones, waiting desperately for a team, or their agent, to call. Others are wielding multiple phones, frantically comparing contract offers and depth chart outlooks and weather and tax rates and living situations, hoping they make the right choice for what might be their only shot to play football for a living.
Teams like the Chicago Bears started working the phones during the final rounds of the draft, calling small armies of prospects trying to gauge interest, availability and contract demands.
Somehow, these players and teams settle on each other, and somewhere between a handful and a couple dozen undrafted free agents come to every NFL team's camp every season.
Here at Bleacher Report, we're keeping track of all of these crazy, quickie deals so you don't have to work your phone into overtime like the teams and players do.
If you want to know which NFL hopefuls are coming to Bourbonnais this season, just keep refreshing this signing tracker to find out!
Michael Ford, LSU RB
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Reported by ESPN Chicago.
It's not often an SEC running back with 4.42 speed and a 39.5" vertical leap is available as an undrafted free agent, but the Bears were lucky enough to snag 5'10", 210-pound Michael Ford anyway.
Ford struggled for playing time in LSU's stocked backfield, but led the team in rushing in 2011. He certainly has NFL talent, and could work his way onto an older-than-you-realize Bears tailback corps.
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Damontre Hurst, Oklahoma CB
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Announced by Chicago Bears via official Twitter feed.
Hurst, a 5'10", 183-pound cornerback was second-team All Big 12 his senior season. Though he only had two interceptions in his three years as a starter, he did rack up a ton of tackles. In 2012, he finished fourth on the team with 59.
Though not a ballhawk, he did break up 31 passes in his three years as a starter; he's a physical player who covers well. Sounds like a perfect fit for the Bears secondary.
Mark Harrison, Rutgers WR
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Reported on Twitter by Matt Sugam of SNYTV.com.
Mark Harrison has the kind of measurables that usually keep a prospect from falling out of the draft. At 6'3", 231 pounds, with huge 35" arms, Harrison not only has sufficient size to make it in the NFL, he's got exceptional size.
With a 4.46 40-yard dash, 38.5" vertical leap and 129" broad jump, he's got freaky explosion.
Of course, if there weren't a downside he wouldn't be available. Harrison is not a natural ball-catcher, and doesn't use his gifts to attack his routes.
Finally, there's the matter of CombineHotelRoomGate: Harrison and receiver DeAndre Hopkins were accused of nastily trashing their mutual combine hotel room, according to ESPN.com.
Still: Harrison's talent is more than worth a tire-kick.
Marcus Rucker, Memphis WR
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Signing reported on Twitter by Bo Marchionte of College2Pro.com.
The Bears are stocking up on free agent receivers with height.
Marcus Rucker, at 6'3", 195 pounds, cut a blazing 4.42 40-yard dash time at Memphis's pro day. He also notched a 37.5" vertical leap and 10'4" broad jump. If he can produce in camp like he did in Conference USA, Rucker could be a player at the bottom of the Bears' receiver depth chart.
Brandon Hartson, Houston LS
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Announced on the official University of Houston football Twitter feed.
Hartson, a 6'3", 251-pound long snapper, was ranked 10th among available long snappers by NFLDraftScout.com. Hartson could just be in to help the specialists work out, or he could have a chance to push Patrick Mannelly, the Bears' current long snapper.