Chicago Sun-Times

Jerry Angelo clears air on Chris Williams' situation

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General manager Jerry Angelo and head trainer Tim Bream conducted a teleconference to go over Chris Williams' back condition and what went into the decision process in selecting him in the draft.

Here are excerpts from Angelo's portion of the call:

JERRY ANGELO

"When Tim went over all this, when we were talking about it with our medical people, obviously the thing that I was concerned with is he's a football player. I'm not talking about the normal, average Joe walking the street. As what Tim said, there are a good number of players playing with this and or worse that we've seen over a period of time. And I use that term wear and tear. We knew that there was wear and tear with Chris. But ultimately what our medical people want, whether it is this type of injury, an ACL, a shoulder injury, how did the player perform post injury? Did Chris complain of back pain? He missed two to three days but he played throughout his whole career. What are the symptoms of a herniation? Repetitive MRI's, which he did not have, missed practice time, missed game time, which he did not have. And symptoms which would create pain running down his extremities and his lower legs, and or numbness in his feet, which he never had. He had none of those symptoms. He had none of those issues prior to us drafting him. When we found the herniation within that 24-hour span, he did have those symptoms. That's what we reacted to. But none of that had anything to do up until that time in terms of what I just said. That's what I want to make clear. It's not that he had any of these symptoms that I just went over when he was in college. He did not. And that's what we went on because players can play with this condition and have.

"There is a lot of history of players that had this condition that he had at the combine that have played with it. We were basing it off of the play time. We were basing it off of no symptoms for a period of three or more years. We were comfortable with that. I did use the term wear and tear. There were concerns. But you know what, you could say that for a lot of players at a lot of positions. We were comfortable with this. We were not trying to hide anything. We did not tell Chris to not talk about this and or to say anything differently than what he said. What we said from the outset has been consistent.

"And guys, what I told you is what our doctor told me. This isn't something that I looked at the MRI myself and or diagnosed. This is what our doctor said, this is a new injury. All these questions that you're asking me, trust me I asked our doctor. And those were the things that were told to me by our doctor. This was a new injury. This could have happened to anybody. Again, I keep going back, make sure you understand the foundation of all this, that he had no symptoms throughout his career in college and that weighed heavily with us as it did with our doctors. He did have wear and tear. But again there are a lot of players that have come out, and have played and will continue to play with this type of condition. That's a fact."

DOES IT EFFECT A PLAYER'S DRAFT STATUS WHEN THERE IS A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION?

"It will. It will for some teams, it won't for others. That's where every team has to make its own determination. It's not black and white. I think if you called all the teams that really needed an offensive lineman, this is where this is germane to, look at those teams because they probably did A to Z. There were eight offensive linemen drafted in the first round, tackles that is, so there were a goodly amount of teams looking at that position. Are you going to say or am I going to say that every team had this guy off their board? You know that's not a fact. You know they looked at the same things we did and they made the determination they would draft him. Not all teams. But I would say most of the teams would have. And we talked to other medical people and other teams. So I can say that with a clear conscience. So again, you can't just isolate this and look at this through a straw. That's not being fair."

WILLIAMS' CAREER WILL NOT BE DETERMINED FOR A FEW YEARS. KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW, ARE YOU CONFIDENT YOU MADE THE RIGHT CALL AND WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?

"I would do it again based on the information that we ascertained leading up to the decision, OK. I would do it again. You're going to ask me if I would swing at the same pitch if I struck out the next time? No. You can't. I can only base my decision, my answer, based on that time. And we would have done that. We saw a concern, but it wasn't acute. We didn't see anything acute.

"We had Marcus Robinson, we went through with this. We had Charles Tillman [have disc surgery]. There was an offensive linemen Tim told me we had here with the Bears who went through this, and everyone continued to play throughout their careers. Again, this was an isolated incident, and we feel good about the prognosis. We feel good about him coming back as healthy as he can come back and going forward that he is going to continue to be a good player and a healthy player or else we would not have wanted to carry him on our 53."

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Dear Jerry Angelo: you wasted the first round pick, which is itself a lottery. You decided to spend the money you won on a clearance item that nobody else would buy. Bears fans might respect you and the coaching staff more if you were actually straight with us. We are, after all, the ones who are paying your salary by buying into what you have to say on literal level, but not the figurative way. No one buys your bull.

Considering that Chris Williams was "raw" and "soft" and had a herniated disk issue that you think sounds better calling "wear and tear", and that there were other linemen in the draft who most scouts on other teams seemed to rate higher...hmmmm.

Try drafting an offensive player who has actually done something on the collegiate level . . . one preferably from the Big 10, considering your awesome luck with the speed of the SEC.

Well... whatever. 2 things going on here. First .... look at injury histories of previous drafts. There were 4 taken in this draft (Williams - back, Steltz - shoulder, Harrison - knee/arrested, and Bowman - both knees torn ligs). Now realize that you can probably get these players for a bargain for the talent. Hence... save money... millions. The Bears had a huge rookie pool given to them based on 11 players drafted. Just think about this.

1. Angelo repeatedly takes players with injuries (I have said this before. So this is not a surprise that they knew of "some condition pertaining to low back". BTW... tons of research (pubmed, JMPT, ACOEM, etc.) says that it takes 3 months for a herniated disc to fully stabalize. The disc is made like fake breasts. Gelatin-like substance surrounded by a tough "bag-like" connective tissue. The herniation is simply a bulging disc (soft tissue seen on MRI... not x-ray). So if the bulge is not great enough to hit the spinal cord or nerve emitting from between spinal bones, then symptoms should not be present (or minimal...muscle ache, stiffness). Now his condition worsened from a sudden hit in practice. So either the bulge grew farther and hit the nerves, or the gelatin substance is "blown out" by the sudden force applied to an "already weakened" disc (called sequestering). The 2 bones slam together during sequestering, stablization is lost, and nerves are still hit (this would also be major debilitating pain. My guess is a big bulge with no sequestering, b/c he did come back to do some drills before re-flairing it.

2. Now know that Angelo works for Phillips, who is team president, but who is also paid by McCaskey's. McCaskeys are HISTORICALLY cheap, and always wanting a bargain. Otherwise, they would have signed Faneca, or some other good OL. You really think he didn't think he needed better O-lineman? C'mon folks. No way. I know they signed all their own, but they still have 7 million left in the cap, and 1-2 million over would cost an extra million for one year, then the cap goes up again and you are under the cap. They definitely could have coaxed Faneca over for 7 million per year for 4 years. Maybe not, Jets may have "overpaid" for him. Point is McCasky runs the team, and they don't want to spend.

Williams might be back by Thanksgiving at best. By then, the line will be set (hopefully), and he will back up rest of year.

Bottom line, I do NOT fault Jerry Angelo for drafting players with injury histories anymore. I blame McCaskey.

I hope the team does well. GO BEARS!

yellow flag, red flag, it doesn't matter. the point remains that jerry angelo never learns from past mistakes and never plans for the worst case scenario. offensive tackle along with wide receiver was the position the bears had the least amount of talent in house prior to the draft. the inexcusable part of this was angelo didn't secure another OT (earlier than barton a 7th round afterthought) either on day 1 of the draft or in FA.

jerry angelo deserves no benefit of the doubt when it comes to drafting offense, his track record is, well, offensive. bears down, once again.

There are a lot of teams that would draft a player with previous injuries if they thought they were getting value. Look at Adrian Peterson for example. He was drafted 7th and had more than one injury in college. Again, he was drafted 7th. If Williams turns out to be a good LT then the wait will be worth it as LT's are hard to find.

Josh you are spot on LT's are hard to find. They took Williams saying he was ready to play this year. They gambled and lost. I don't fault the GM for gambling, but do it in rds 3-7 of the draft. In rds 1-2 you need players who will contribute quickly. Look at the Colts almost all of their 1-2 picks pan out and are productive.

In the last couple years how many of our 1-2 picks have panned out. The problem with taking Williams was the risk. Albert was still available, but the draw back was he would need to learn a new position and it would take time. Hindsight is always easy, but I think the teams that suceed usually hit on their picks in the early rds. The Bears aren't.

I say let it play out before jumping to any conclusion. There have been exceptions, but most NFL players don't play very good their rookie year and St. Clair is playing OK. Maybe they get a swing tackle for the last half and he gets some reps before next year.

We can throw stones, but I saw video of Williams running around in that rookie minicamp after the draft. He was so athletic in appearance I first thought the guy was a linebacker or fullback. He definately has what the linemen call "feet". He has the size and talent. Maybe the guy heals up and plays 10 years.

And maybe he is already through. Like I said, let it play out.

The most interesting aspect of this escapade is the fact that Angelo called a press conference just to clear the air. Hmmmm. Some pretty thin skinned execs and coaches in the Bears front office. Last year it was Turner having a press conference to clear the air about "the drive" against the Eagles. Now Angelo with a press conference to clear the air about "the pick."

Seems to me that a confident, self-assured GM wouldn't have to resort to this kind of "spin control."

Oh, that's right... we're talking about Angelo.

Angelo is on the clock.
Lovie is on the clock.
Turner is on the clock.

And it's three minutes to midnight.

Sleep well Bears leadership.

I will cast all the Damn stones I want and I am aiming for the head. First Angelo lied he originally said Williams had no pre-existing condition. Sense he drafted Williams, heck sense before he drafted Williams me and a Couple of other guys like Da Coach were all over Angelo and Williams. How is we knew Williams had a back problem and no one else did? Angelo has thrown away another first round pick fire him. All along who has been saying Williams was hurt before the incident, who said the Bears were lying, who has been calling out Angelo and this organization sense day one, who has been right sense day one? Me thats who. You know how much flack I have taken for being honest and saying what everyone else was thinking. "Oh Angelo wouldn't do that", "Why would Angelo Draft a injured Player", blah blah blah.

Now Angelo is running around comparing an Offensive tackle who ways 320 pounds too Robinson a 180 pound reciever and Peanut a 200 pound corner. Linmen put nothing but stress on there backs day in and day out. Why doesn't Jerry find me an offensive linmen who had a herniated disk that says it didnn't shorten there careers. Oh wait what am i saying Angelo couldn't find an offensive linmen if Ogden was standing in front of him blocking him. I tell you why he can't find a tackle who says having a Herniated disk in his back didn't shorten his career, CAUSE THEY DON'T EXIST. Again Angelo shows he loves players with injuries.

Angelo has had 1, count it, one, proven first round pick or first team pick sense his time with the Bears, the rest are all busts or gone because of injuries and Olsen who has yet to prove himself. He is 1 for eight and he should be fired, he has proven he lies to the fans, he lies to the media and he has a bad eye for talent. Oh and if someone says Hester, the guy has looked like garbage this preseason, bad hands and no idea what a rout looks like. We have no LT, no franchise QB and no offense. These were things he promised to fix when he took over in 2001, well he has had tons of time and hasn't fixed squat. Even the Defense is starting to colapse, by the way I said that would happen too didn't I? How could it possibly be that a fan knows more than the GM of the Bears? That is how pathetic this guy is.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on August 24, 2008 9:14 PM.

Chris Williams interview was the previous entry in this blog.

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