Welcome back to another edition of Forgotten Heroes where we take a deeper dive into the careers of Chicago sports icons. This round, we’ll take a look at Nathan Vasher, former cornerback for the Chicago Bears. Nathan Vasher may not necessarily be the most “forgotten” player, having been a part of many memorable moments and was a key part of the 2006 Super Bowl team, but not unlike his teammate Hunter Hillenmeyer, Vasher was not in the spotlight as frequently as the heavyweights like Peanut Tillman or Brian Urlacher.
Drafted in the fourth round by the Bears in 2004, Nathan Vasher was an outstanding defensive back at the University of Texas in Austin. In college, he tied the school record for interceptions, recording 17, as well as returning punts, where he was named an All-American punt returner in 2001. After just 3 weeks as back up cornerback, Vasher earned the starting spot in week 4. He eventually became the top defensive back that year due to Peanut Tillman being injured. In 2005, Vasher had his break out year. He lead the Bears and the NFC with 8 interceptions and was a core part of the Bears’ much vaunted defense. In that same year, Nathan Vasher set a record for the longest return of any kind, when he returned a missed field goal for 108 yards. Check out the clip below, it still gives me chills:
Just an unreal Chicago sports moment. I remember listening to the call on the radio by Jeff Joniak while driving by Soldier Field on Lake Shore Drive.
The following year in 2006, Nathan Vasher missed much of the season due to injuries but managed to record 3 interceptions. Despite being hurt, Vasher managed to come up with some clutch stops, particularly against New Orleans in the NFC Championship when he intercepted a red hot Drew Brees late in the fourth quarter. On top of that, Nathan Vasher held Marvin Harrison of the Colts to only 59 yards in the Super Bowl, but we unfortunately all remember how Super Bowl XLI turned out and would XLI like to forget it!
After continuing to struggle with injuries for years, Nathan Vasher would eventually be cut by the Bears in 2010. He bounced around with a handful of teams but ultimately would retire in late 2011. Currently, Vasher and former Bears teammate Johnny Knox are both assistant coaches at Carmer High School in Mundelein, IL
So let’s all take a moment to doff our caps to a former Chicago Bear that made up one of the best defenses in NFL history!! Thank you, Nathan!