The guessing game known as the Chicago Bears safety position continued Sunday after rookie third-round pick Brandon Hardin went on injured reserve as a result of a neck injury sustained in the second preseason game.

Hardin had his neck in a brace and was at Halas Hall last week following the injury, and he'll be able to play again at some point, but the Bears couldn't be sure when. So they'll wait until next year with the former Oregon State cornerback and turn to former practice squad player Anthony Walters as the fourth safety.

Hardin also missed all of his final college season last year with a shoulder injury.

In addition, starting free safety Chris Conte remained out of practice Sunday with a shoulder injury sustained in the second preseason game.

Last year injuries limited Conte to nine starts and he wound up on IR with a foot injury. Injuries limited starting SS Major Wright to 10 starts and 12 games last season.

The Bears have a recent history of either losing safeties to injuries, or missing them in terms of talent. They have drafted 10 safeties since 2002 with Conte, Wright, Craig Steltz and Hardin the only ones still in Chicago.

They have selected a safety every year since 2002 with the exception of 2004.
With Conte out and Hardin done for the year, former practice squad player Anthony Walters moves into the third safety spot. Steltz and Wright are currently starting. After Conte returns, if a fifth safety is needed, a prime candidate could be Mark LeGree.

If they decide to keep a fifth safety, the primary candidate could be Mark LeGree. He signed last week, got into Friday's game against the Giants and made two tackles and a forced fumble. The Bears are the fifth team he's been with since being drafted 156th overall in the fifth round by Seattle last year.

Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLCHI.