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Panthers send fifth-round draft pick to Bears for S Harris

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Carolina Panthers added much-needed help at safety Thursday when they acquired Chris Harris from the Chicago Bears for a fifth-round draft pick.

Harris, entering his third season, started at both safety positions with the Bears and has five interceptions in the past two seasons. Harris also had an interception in the Bears' loss to Indianapolis in the Super Bowl.

"According to our scouts and coaches he's an instinctive player, and we feel he can come in here and compete," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said.

Harris will likely step in right away as the starter at strong safety next to veteran Mike Minter. Nate Salley, who has never played safety in an NFL game, had been working with the first team until he suffered a right knee injury in practice Wednesday. Salley sat out practice Thursday and is listed as day-to-day.

The Panthers had little depth at the position after they didn't re-sign last year's starting strong safety, Shaun Williams, and failed to get a safety in the draft.

Meanwhile, the Bears have plenty of depth at the position, making Harris expendable.

"I think we're fortunate the Bears have a real surplus at that position," Hurney said. "Chris is a guy that we feel can come in here, compete and help us."

Harris, who played at Louisiana-Monroe, was Chicago's sixth-round pick in 2005.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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