Back on draft day the Bears took offensive lineman Chris Williams with their first round pick and scoffed at a rumor being whispered around the league that Williams had a back problem that had red-lined him off some teams’ draft boards.
Williams himself refuted an NFL Network report that teams were scared off due to a previous neck injury, saying, “I don’t have any neck issues. I really don’t know where that came from.”
Given the Bears record for candor, it’s understandable that interested parties were skeptical the Bears were telling the truth. But Williams made good on his promise to be in camp on time, signing a five-year deal hours before training camp opened, ready to battle for and claim the starting left tackle position.
Until day two.
What started out being described as “back spasms” that could be treated with medication wound up evolving into a herniated disc that needed surgery in Williams’ lower back, wiping out at least the first half of his rookie season and virtually any chance to play with the starters in 2008.
If that were the end of the story, we could chalk it up to bad luck and move on. But Bears will be Bears, and Williams spent his first interview after the surgery telling the media that “I had a herniated disc before I got here. Everybody knew that.”
Which led to Jerry Angelo holding a press conference and even going so far as to trot out head trainer Tim Bream to explain that the injury Williams had surgery for wasn’t the same one he had when the Bears drafted him.
As if we’re supposed to be comforted by that.
So I guess Williams didn’t lie when he said he had no neck issues, and I guess Angelo wasn’t fibbing when he told us the health of Williams’ back wasn’t a concern when he was drafted by the Bears, at least to him. Where the truth lies with the Bears is always open to debate, but this much we do know: Williams just had surgery on the same disc he injured three years ago at Vanderbilt, and he’s out for at least half the season.
Who cares if it was on the other side of the disc like the Bears tell us?