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Brian Urlacher to join Fox Sports 1

Updated: July 28, 2013 10:00PM

BOURBONNAIS — Bears fans will get to watch Brian Urlacher after all. The longtime Bears linebacker will be joining the new Fox Sports 1 network.

A Fox Sports spokesman confirmed Urlacher will be featured on ‘‘Fox Football Daily’’ this coming season. The website The Big Lead was the first to report the news about Urlacher, who retired after 14 seasons when he and the Bears couldn’t come to terms on a contract. Urlacher had appeared on Fox-32’s ‘‘The Final Word’’ for years.

Urlacher’s absence has been a hot topic early in Bears camp. Now he apparently will get to analyze the team during the season.

Hardin hoping for health

Brandon Hardin’s goal this season is as obvious as it is simple — stay healthy.

The second-year safety hasn’t played in a regular-season game since 2010 at Oregon State because of preseason injuries. He suffered a broken shoulder in 2011 and a neck injury as a Bears rookie last year and knows this is likely his last chance.

‘‘This has to be the year; there’s no other choice for me,’’ said Hardin, a third-round draft pick (79th overall) in 2012. ‘‘I have to make this year work as far as playing healthy, playing well. I have to prove to the coaches and everyone with the Bears that I belong here.’’

The 6-3, 217-pound Hardin, a cornerback in college, was making progress as a safety last year when he suffered a neck injury while making a tackle in the second preseason game.

Though he has missed the last two seasons, he hasn’t forgotten how to play football.

‘‘Definitely, and I proved
some of that with the [organized team activities],’’ Hardin said. ‘‘I’d like to say I surprised some of the coaches with how well I came back. I felt that I didn’t miss a beat.’’

Wilson catching on

Rookie receiver Marquess Wilson, a seventh-round pick from Washington State, showed why he was projected as a possible first-round pick last year with a leaping catch in practice. He beat undrafted rookie Demontre Hurst on the play, and coach Marc Trestman noticed.

‘‘This is a game of one-on-one and contested throwing battles,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘It was good coverage — two guys going up for the ball and one guy coming up with it.’’

Contributing: Mark Potash

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