Chicago Sun-Times

First-round pick Williams: "I'd like to play at least half the season"

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First-round draft pick Chris Williams announced on the team's Web site that he would like to be able to play at least half of the season during his rookie year.

"I'd like to play at least half the season," Williams said Tuesday in a story the team published today.

"It was a shock, but it was also a relief," he also said. "I knew surgery would fix it. It was something that got real bad quick, so I knew that surgery would reverse it just as quick and was excited about it."

The left tackle had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back on Aug. 6 and the team plans to keep him on the 53-man roster when the season begins. Reportedly, he will begin rehabilitation this weekend.

Team officials have talked about a possible return in October or November, and have also acknowledged the procedure was more involved than what ex-wide receiver Marcus Robinson and cornerback Charles Tillman underwent. Tillman's surgery was in February 2007 and he was cleared for a full return four months later. There was no rush to get him back in the offseason.

Williams left the practice field on the second day of training camp, July 24, after a non-contact drill. At least a handful of clubs had removed Williams from their draft boards because of back issues.

"I don't feel a need to defend myself," Williams said. "But football's a rough game and it wears on the body. This has nothing to do with my previous injury. It's just something that happened. It's part of the game. Everybody has something and I'm just glad to get it over with."

The Bears are thin at offensive tackle now with seventh-round pick Kirk Barton and undrafted free agent Cody Balogh backing up starters John St. Clair and John Tait. Chester Adams, also a seventh-round pick, has been used some at right tackle.

There is not a lot available right now with ex-Bear Fred Miller topping the free-agent market. The Baltimore Ravens remain interested in Miller and an NFC team called about his services this morning. Miller's agent Harold Lewis will meet with Ravens officials on Friday.

As far as Williams' goal ... the second half of the season begins with a Nov. 9 meeting at Soldier Field against Tennessee.

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13 Comments

This kid keeps proving to me how stupid he really is. First off he needs the season off to let his back heal and to actually get his core in shape. He is a 320 pound Baby Huey body with a bad back. How many times do I have to see stupid athletes comeback to soon from injuries and hurt themselves again. Also his comment on how this will make him a better football player is the dumbest company line I have heared floated in awhile. How, how does a herniated disk make a rookie who doesn't even know if he can play at this level, a kid who has never played a single down in the NFL a better player? How can that possibly help? Then he says he is lucky cause he is getting his injuries out of the way now instead of later. Like you have a damn choice about when you get injured. How stupid is this kid? I guess Mike Brown was running around the football field year in and year out and decided you know what, now is a good time to get injured. So I want to get this straight, Angelo drafted a LT who has a bad back, is out of shape and quiet possibly retarded. This was his genius plan to fix the Oline. Well thats just F####### great, nice job A######!!!!

Creightons comments are freakin hilarious, unfortunatly, they are true. How many chances does Angelo get? And please hold the Angelo
built a SB team two years ago, my high school nephew could have built that team, and he would have had a QB that could actually start for another NFL team.

Im going to remain optimistic about the Bears offensive line situation and not hit the panic button just yet, for one simple reason, its only been two pre-season games, and the o-line didn't look that bad in one. Some of you guys got to realize it takes time for an offensive line to develope, you cannot just plug in a couple new players and expect there to be no drop off in play.
If I did have to pick a player to worry about a little, it would be John Tait, who allowed the pressure that forced Grossman to throw the interception. Hopefully he can step up his play. If father time and injuries are starting to catch up with Tait, it might be time to take a closer look at rookie Kirk Barton at right tackle, but hopefully this is not the case with John Tait.
Lastly, you cannot entirely blame the pressure on the offensive line, the Seahawks blitzed relentlessly, and with a blitz, there will usually be 6-7 players coming, that leaves 5 offensive linemen to protect, you do the math. Desmond Clark, the Bears best blocking tight end, was injured, I guarantee this also had something to do with the constant pressure, the other tight ends are simply going to have to step up as blockers. Before I bust out one of my favorite new player on the Bears roster, let me remind everyone of something. Even the best blocking running backs in college, can have a hard time [at first] with blitz pickup in the NFL, so my boy Matt Forte was also guilty, and needs to improve in this area. I think by mid season, this o-line is going to be pretty good, they just need time to develope. Also, with the return of Chris Williams this line will only get better, and the Bears have another rookie tackle Kirk Barton waiting to prove himself. With time, the line, tight ends, and running backs should only get better at blitz pickup GO BEARS!!

The response Creighton was evidentally looking for from Williams was that the season is over, and nothing positive can come from this. Also, this 22 year old should have known better than the team doctors as far as rest working instead of surgery. Vanderbilt is a good school, but not that good. It is amazing to me how someone can get on this kid for getting injured. The chat boards surrounding these, and people like Creighton are making us look like Philly fans just complaining all the time about everything.

If Fred Miller is the best available free agent, then indeed the pickings are very slim. Creighton is a bit too harsh, but one does wonder why so many other teams were not interested in Williams. Did they know something Bear scouts did not know? And if so, Why?

I saw the story on the bears' site. They titled it: "Williams Vows to Return From Injury" or something like that. It's quite encouraging.

Just like "Benson Vows to Bounce Back from Arrest," "Grossman Vows to Bounce Back from Bad Start," "Offense Vows to Bounce Back from not Scoring any Touchdowns," "Angelo Vows to Draft Quality Linemen..."

Maybe they should take their "Final Vows." Oh dang! Oh no I di'n't!

Brad,

I agree with you about what is out there. However, how can we hold open a roster spot for Williams knowing that we need help NOW not at mid-season. You cannot tell me that Lovie Smith and Harry Hiestand got together and said:

"You know, that half practice Chris Williams had in non-contact drills sure was impressive and even though he's never played a down in the NFL we need to hold open a roster spot for at least half a season and hope that 1) he can recover from surgery, 2) he can play at an NFL level despite never having done it, and 3) he can play at a much higher level than any 'band-aid' out there that could help immediately."

Any way you slice this, this is Jerry Angelo (ONCE AGAIN) compounding his draft incompetence by forcing the hands of the coaching staff. We all saw how well that trade of Thomas Jones helped the team as we annointed Cedric Benson starter. We've all seen how well the Rex Grossman Experience has worked out. We've all seen the greatness that is Mark Bradley. Do I really need to go on?!?!

Fire Angelo now. Bring in a new GM to unscramble this mess in 2008 and move on in 2009 with a clean house. Run Lovie and his staff on to the bus out of town. As a season ticket holder I feel like I've been duped by this lame organization.

Nice to see Biggs participating in the comments section. The open roster spot will probably eliminate Mark Bradley. That could be a loss on special teams, or maybe not given his fragility. Oh well, to bastardize the old adage: it's not about whether you win or lose, it's how good you make Jerry Angelo look. Even if it endangers a rookie's back. No wonder Angelo despises blogs like this one. In the best patrician tradition, the peasants should just pay for their tickets, and shut the hell up.

WELL GET WELL AND GET IN SHAPE AND TRY TO COME BACK!
IF THE SEASON GOES CRAZY, YOU WON'T PLAY A DOWN THIS SEASON!
THE WAY I SEE IT, IF THE LINE CAN'T HOLD UP, WE MAY NEED SOME MORE
QUARTERBACKS!

If Tillman took 4 months before he was cleared for full participation, that is not a good sign. I know they weren't in a hurry, but during this healing process, Williams will not be able to lift, or work out, or do anything to keep himself in shape. It is back surgery, not a shoulder, thumb, or knee. Every thing a football player does involves pressure on the core of their body. So let's say he is a fast healer, and is cleared to start practicing in 3 months. That makes it November 6th before he is cleared, and I would bet at least 3-4 weeks of conditioning, strength building, and getting ready for football. Now we are in December. Can he contribute in the last 4 weeks of the season, when the line has been playing together (barring injury) for 12-13 games? Probably not.

This isn't college, where the kid only has 4 years to be there. We put Okwo and Bazuin on IR last year with injuries that would not have kept them out the entire year, so why not Williams? play it smart, and play it safe, like they do everything else around Halas Hall.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 20, 2008 3:34 PM.

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