Bears lose Kelvin Hayden for season due to torn hamstring
"He's got a severe hamstring," Bears coach Marc Trestman said after Wednesday’s practice.
Trestman said Hayden plans to undergo surgery to repair the torn hamstring, although the Bears are waiting for the results of Wednesday’s MRI to determine how soon that task should be tackled. Hayden is expected to undergo a six-to-eight months recovery period, which should force him to sit out his second-year with the Bears.
The 30-year-old Hayden re-signed with the Bears in March, after playing all 16 games (with two starts) for the team during 2012. He was credited with 37 tackles, one interception and four fumble recoveries after playing 472 defensive snaps –mostly in subpackages – for the Bears last season. That number was likely to increase this season as Hayden was the clear-cut No. 1 nickelback on the roster in camp after bouncing back and forth between cornerback and nickelback, off-the-bench for the Bears in 2012. However, this offseason Hayden had been working exclusively at the position.
"Kelvin has worked so hard. He's been doing a great job, and it's really tough to see him go down like that,” Bears safety Chris Conte lamented the loss of Hayden’s veteran leadership in the Bear’s defensive backfield. “I know none of the DBs really expected it to be that serious. To hear he's out for the whole year is kind of shocking. So prayers and thoughts go to him and his family, and hopefully surgery goes well and he's back soon."
Originally a second-round pick out of Illinois in 2005, Hayden spent his first six seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts. He followed that with an injury-plagued 2011 season in Atlanta before signing with the Bears last year.
In Hayden’s absence, second-year pro Isaiah Frey has been taking the nickel reps at camp.
"You hate to see that happen. I'm praying for him that he gets healthy really fast,” Frey said.
While Frey’s had a solid camp, but he’s still very short on experience. A sixth-round draft pick out of Nevada in 2012, Frey spent last season on the Bears’ practice squad. Another logical fill-in at the spot for Hayden is sixth-year pro Zack Bowman, who appeared in 11 games last year but recorded just 11 tackles. The Bears also have fourth-year player Sherrick McManis, who much like Bowman did not get much playing time last season, as well as youngsters C.J. Wilson and Demontre Hurst at corner.