|No. 31, 30|
|Date of birth:November 17, 1981|
|Place of birth: Wichita Falls, Texas|
|NFL Draft: 2004 / Round: 4 / Pick: 110|
|No regular season or postseason appearances|
|* Chicago Bears ( 2004– 2009)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|* Pro Bowl (2005)|
|Stats at NFL.com|
Nathaniel DeWayne Vasher (born November 17, 1981) is a former American football cornerback who played seven seasons in the National Football League. He played college football at Texas and was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 2004 NFL Draft.
An all-state selection at both cornerback and wide receiver at Texas High School in Texarkana, Texas, Vasher was recruited by the University of Texas at Austin. He started at strong safety for the Longhorns in 2001 and at cornerback in 2002 and 2003. He intercepted 17 passes in his college career, tying the school record. He also returned punts and earned All-America honors as a punt returner in 2001.
The Chicago Bears selected Vasher in the fourth round of 2004 NFL Draft. He began his career with the team as a back-up cornerback, but became a starter by the fourth week of the season. Vasher became the Bears’ top cornerback after Charles Tillman was sidelined with an injury. In one of his best games of the season, Vasher intercepted one of Ken Dorsey’s passes and returned it for a 71-yard touchdown.
Vasher had the best season of his career in 2005, when he led the Bears and National Football Conference with eight interceptions. He also set a record for the longest return of any kind when he returned Joe Nedney’s missed 52-yard field goal for a 108-yard touchdown. The record was later tied by teammate Devin Hester (who returned a missed Jay Feely field goal for a score on November 12, 2006 against the Giants) and Ellis Hobbs (who returned a kickoff for a touchdown on September 9, 2007 against the Jets). The record is now held by Antonio Cromartie, who returned a missed Ryan Longwell field goal 109 yards for a touchdown for San Diego against Minnesota on November 4, 2007. Vasher completed the season with an invitation to the Pro Bowl, as well as two player of the week awards.
Vasher missed portions of the 2006 season on account of injuries and was limited to only three interceptions. He played a pivotal role in the Bears’ National Football Conference Championship victory by recovering a fumble and also intercepting Drew Brees in the game's final minutes. He was later assigned to cover Marvin Harrison, one of the Indianapolis Colts’ top receivers, and limited him to 59 yards, while also assisting Chris Harris in an interception.
During the subsequent off-season, the Bears re-signed Vasher and Tillman to long-term contracts. He sustained a groin injury during the third game of the 2007 season and was forced to miss the next ten games while recuperating. He made his return during a Monday Night Football match up against the Minnesota Vikings, in which he intercepted a pass and also helped Brian Urlacher record one by delivering a hit to Robert Ferguson. Vasher continued to struggle with injuries, and lost his starting job to Zack Bowman in 2009.
On March 17, 2010, Vasher was released from the Bears.
San Diego Chargers
Vasher was invited to throw the ceremonial opening pitch, and sing "Take me out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field, for the Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals game on May 6, 2007. Vasher was nicknamed "ESPN3" in college, and "The Interceptor" by Bears fans due to his many interceptions.
- Associated Press, Bears 23, 49ers 13 (November 15, 2004), Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
- Associated Press, Vasher's 108-yard return lifts Bears over 49ers (November 13, 2005), ESPN. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
- Associated Press, Bears 38, Giants 20 (November 13, 2006), Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
- Youngmisuk, Ohm, Ellis Hobbs' 108-yard kickoff return sets record (September 10, 2007), Daily News. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
- Associated Press, cornerback's return longest play in NFL history (November 4, 2007), ESPN. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
- Wilner, Barry, Bears 39, Saints 14 (January 22, 2007), Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
- Mayer, Larry, Dynamic cornerback duo picks off three passes (August 7, 2007), chicagobears.com. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
- Mayer, Larry (2007-12-17). "Vasher returns with a vengeance after 10-game hiatus". chicagobears.com. http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=4199. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
- Dickerson, Jeff (2010-03-17). "Vasher never recovered from groin injury". ESPN. http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bears/post/_/id/4664525/vasher-never-recovered-from-groin-injury. Retrieved 2010-03-18.
- Mayer, Larry, Bears release veteran cornerback Vasher (March 17, 2007), chicagobears.com. Retrieved on March 17, 2008.
- CB Nathan Vasher signs with Lions Detroit Free Press September 13, 2010
- "Lions bring back CB Nathan Vasher on one year deal". National Football Post. http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Lions-bring-back-CB-Nathan-Vasher-on-oneyear-deal.html.