Brandon Hardin has not played in a regular-season football game for the Bears since September 8, when the season begins.
However, after being sidelined by injuries for the past two years, the 2012 third-round pick must establish himself in order to remain on the roster.
Asked, “How’s your health?” Hardin boldly replied, “I’m absolutely, 100 percent healthy now.” He’s done it several times since arriving at training camp.
Last year, Hardin was carted off the field on a stretcher after going low to tackle Redskins tight end Logan Paulsen in the preseason. The image was disturbing, but it paled in comparison to the devastating news.
According to Hardin, the injury was only a 4- to 6-week one last year, and he recovered quickly. Because he is on injured reserve, he will miss the rest of the season, making him a redshirt sophomore.
Hardin was forced to have season-ending surgery on a shoulder injury he sustained in August 2011 before his senior year at Oregon State.
The Beavers’ defensive coordinator, Mark Banker, spoke of the situation as if it had just happened.
It was our sixth practice, and it felt a little unusual. “Our receiver came up from behind him as he was going up for a fade and heading for an interception,” Banker explains. He yanked both of his arms to one side in one swift motion. He returned to practice the next day after missing the previous day due to stiffness and tightness, and we inspected his shoulder once more.
As expected, “he was distraught” at the end.
After graduating in June, Hardin had high expectations for his senior year. As a junior, he had 63 tackles and three forced fumbles in 12 starts at cornerback. He recovered in time for the East-West Shrine Game in January, demonstrating to scouts that he had recovered from shoulder surgery, increasing his draft value.
Despite this, Hardin remains a candidate for a roster spot in 2013. Major Wright and Chris Conte are the Bears’ starting safeties. Craig Steltz makes his sixth appearance as a substitute. In addition, Tom Nelson, Tom Zbikowski, and Cyhl Quarles are candidates. Hardin and Steltz have typically played second-team defense.
All eyes are on Hardin as he gets his first chance to make an impact after being carried off the field on a stretcher after his last tackle. He, on the other hand, remains unconcerned.
“There was no hesitation at all.”
“He went into greater detail. After seeing the movie a few times, I took some time to reflect on how I handled it.” “Obviously, I won’t do it again, but my aggressiveness or striking style will remain unchanged.” “I enjoy getting in people’s faces and punching them. That won’t make any difference to how I feel.”
His family will be relieved if he can avoid being carried on a stretcher.