When Phil Emery took over as general manager, he inherited a starting safety tandem in Chris Conte and Major Wright, both third-round draft choices from the Jerry Angelo regime.
In his first draft Emery used another third-round pick on another safety, 6-foot-3, 217-pound Brandon Hardin. Emery has now added another safety, former Baltimore Raven and Indianapolis Colt Tom Zbikowski, from suburban Chicago by way of Notre Dame.
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Zbikowski, who signed a one-year deal with the Bears, was cut by the Colts a week ago in a salary cap move two days after Indianapolis signed safety LaRon Landry. Zbikowski signed a three-year deal last year worth $5.4 million with a $1 million signing bonus and was due to make $1.5 million this season, too much for someone ticketed for backup duty and special teams. Zbikowski signed with the Bears for the veteran minimum of $715,000.
Zbikowski, 5-11, 200 pounds, was a third-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2008, played four seasons for Baltimore before signing with Indianapolis last offseason.
While at Notre Dame, Zbikowski roomed with Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija, and was also a part-time boxer. He fought three times during the 2011 NFL lockout, winning all three bouts before going back to football full-time.
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Zbikowski has 25 career starts in 64 games, with three interceptions, 59 special teams tackles and a combined 36 punt and kickoff returns.