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Kelvin Hayden happy to have chance after missing last season

Chicago Bears wide receiver BrandMarshall (15) runs with ball against linebacker Lance Briggs (55) cornerback KelvHayden (24) during NFL football

Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) runs with a ball against linebacker Lance Briggs (55) and cornerback Kelvin Hayden (24) during NFL football training camp at Olivet Nazarene University on Saturday, July 26, 2014, in Bourbonnais, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: ILNH110

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Updated: August 28, 2014 6:57AM



BOURBONNAIS — Cornerback Kelvin Hayden isn’t all the way back, but he’s getting there.

Interceptions in training-camp practices without pads are fool’s gold more often than not. But for Hayden, his early impact at Bears camp — including an interception of Jay Cutler and a forced fumble Saturday — is an indication his recovery from a torn hamstring that cost him the entire 2013 season is on target.

‘‘The work I put in is paying off,’’ Hayden said. ‘‘I actually feel better. The way I feel right now . . . I want to feel that way every day. Training camp is a grind. It’s not going to be easy. It’s a toll on you mentally and physically. You just want to conquer today and worry about tomorrow when tomorrow gets here.’’

Training camp is all about opportunity, and Hayden already is making the most of his. He started at nickel back Saturday because Tim Jennings sat out with an injured quadriceps.

Hayden, in his 10th NFL season, still has a long way to go. Besides missing last season with the injury, he lost his job when the Bears drafted Kyle Fuller in the first round and moved Jennings from cornerback to nickel back in passing situations. But he’s just happy to have the opportunity.

‘‘I’m excited; every day is exciting,’’ said Hayden, who played at Hubbard and Illinois. ‘‘Every day is like, ‘I’m out here doing what I love.’ I’m just having fun, flying around, making plays when the opportunity presents itself. It doesn’t matter if I’m with the twos or the ones. [It’s about] making plays when the opportunity comes.

‘‘I had a long time to myself to sit around and watch other guys. It kind of bothers you a little bit. You don’t forget those days when you were sitting down. I try to remember that every day I step on the field.’’

The Bears still have question marks in their secondary, with Fuller being a rookie and Charles Tillman coming off an injury. But with Hayden and Isaiah Frey, the Bears have the depth to withstand a setback.

‘‘We’re excited to have Kelvin back,’’ coach Marc Trestman said. ‘‘We missed him last year. He’s worked very hard to put himself in this position to compete for a job on this team. It’s good too see him have success [Saturday].’’

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash



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