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Bears rookie safety Brandon Hardin will miss season

Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos v Chicago Bears

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Updated: September 28, 2012 6:17AM

Walking around the practice facility with a neck brace is never a good sign, and for rookie safety Brandon Hardin, it signaled the end of his season.

The Bears put him on injured reserve Sunday, and he’ll miss the entire 2012 season.

Selected in the third round out of Oregon State, Hardin (6-3, 222 pounds) caught the eye of the coaching staff early on in camp. But that excitement came to an abrupt halt in the second preseason game against the Washington Redskins when he injured his neck and had to be carted off.

“Disappointing,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. “We had a plan in place for him, but injuries are a part of it. After you have a collision like that, you just lay on the turf. Him playing is not the first thing on your mind. I’m just glad that he’ll be OK, but these things happen.

“As a rookie, a lot of guys have had to go on IR. Normally they learn an awful lot that year in being out of football.’’

Hardin missed his senior season in college because of a shoulder injury.

Smith thinks middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (left knee) and punter Adam Podlesh (hip flexor) will be ready by Week 1 to play against the Indianapolis Colts.

“Once you break training camp, the practices aren’t as hard as they are down there, so you have the time to make some ground up as far as the injuries are concerned,’’ Smith said.

“Guys are getting treatment, and, yes, everyone is on pace the way we thought they would be.’’

No decision

The Bears are letting the battle between J’Marcus Webb and Chris Williams for the starting job at left tackle play out even longer than expected.

“No, we’ll talk about it in the next couple of days,’’ offensive coordinator Mike Tice said. “We’ve gained more knowledge of where we’re at.

‘‘We played against a good front, and [the New York Giants] were missing one or two guys, but they’re so deep. They don’t do much. They just come after you and challenge you man on man. So it was a really good test for us, and I think the guys withstood that test.’’

Williams has no idea how it will end up.

“I don’t know where the decision will go,’’ Williams said. “I feel I’ve done just about everything I can. I’ll leave it up to the coaches.’’

Becoming 76ers

The Bears’ roster was cut down to 76 as the team terminated the contract of defensive tackle John McCargo and waived linebackers K.C. Asiodu and Adrien Cole, defensive ends Derek Walker and Thaddeus Gibson , safety Trevor Coston, quarterback Matt Blanchard, wide receivers Terriun Crump and Chris Summers and guard Nick Pieschel.

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