- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Former Chicago Bears first-round draft pick Chris Williams played well at times during a five-year tenure with the club, but most memories regarding the offensive lineman conjure the word “bust.”
Selected 14th overall in 2008 by former general manager Jerry Angelo as the club’s left tackle of the future, Williams never lived up to his draft pedigree, resulting in the Bears releasing him last October after he’d lost starting jobs at two spots along the offensive line. Williams received a fresh start in St. Louis shortly after his departure from Chicago, and has started all 10 games at left guard for the Rams this season. Williams faces his former team Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
“We don’t really pay attention to a player’s past,” said Rams coach Jeff Fisher. “He’s a very talented kid. He’s a good, smart football player. I think he just needed a fresh start.”
Williams received that just prior to Week 8 of last season, and played in three games that year prior to winning a starting heading into 2013.
“He came in and played guard and tackle for us last year, and played well,” Fisher said. “He’s familiar with the system now. He’s communicating real well with Scott [Wells] and Jake [Long]. He’s having fun. He’s a great guy in the locker room, and he’s become a great teammate here.”
Williams started 38 games for the Bears, with just seven of those starts coming at left tackle, the original position he was brought in to play.
Williams moved from left tackle to guard after suffering a hamstring injury in 2010 against the Dallas Cowboys. Then, going into the 2012 season, the Bears pitted Williams against J’Marcus Webb for a competition for the starting job at left tackle; a battle Williams ultimately lost.
Just before Williams’ release, he had been inactive for two consecutive weeks.
“Chris is a great guy and we had a great talk after we released him," former Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice said at the time. "He's had some bad breaks; he's had some bad injury breaks. We tried to move him inside [to guard] a little bit, and just as things were going last year he got dinged-up a little bit and lost some time. Right now, I just think the organization felt it would be good for him to maybe get a fresh start.”