Bears' Nick Williams Embracing His Opportunity

With Bilal Nichols hurt, Williams will play a key role on the Bears' defensive line.

Chris Emma
September 20, 2019 - 2:44 pm

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Nick Williams was with his fellow Bears defensive linemen Friday morning when he said something that caught them off guard.

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Williams, 29, told them his sack of Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco last Sunday was the first of a career that began in 2014.

"He tried to be really modest and humble about it," Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. "That's a big experience to get your first sack. What we did talk about is we need more celebration out of him. You get those moments, you can't stall out. He's a good dancer, so I know he's going to be able to pull some stuff together in the next couple weeks."

The six-year NFL veteran Williams will certainly have the chance for more sacks to come. Second-year defensive lineman Bilal Nichols has suffered a hand fracture and is expected to miss at least Chicago's game at Washington on Monday night and perhaps several more. Williams is the next man into the defensive line rotation.

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For Williams, it's the kind of opportunity he has worked for since arriving in the league five years ago -- and something he never lost hope would come. 

Williams spent the 2017 season not on an NFL roster and wondering what was next. He continued working out in Birmingham, Alabama, waiting for a phone call.

"You start sensing it from your friends, your family," Williams said. "They're like, 'OK, Nick, you need to move on.' But I always knew there was another opportunity out there for me. I just believed it.

"Hat's off to the Bears for taking a chance on me."

What the Bears have come to appreciate in Williams is his consistent demeanor. He still prepares like a man trying to earn his job. Hicks sees a player constantly in the weight room and pushing others to be better.

"You have teammates and you have friends and you have lifelong friends," Hicks said. "I feel like Nick is one of those guys. He has this positive energy that never stops. He's a hard worker.

"He's a great football player and a great teammate. I think adding him to this defensive line room two years ago is a big step in how we developed."

Williams has played in just 30 career games since arriving in the NFL in 2014, including 14 contests with the Chiefs in 2015. He was a healthy inactive during 14 of the Bears' regular-season games in 2018, but the team took notice of his work behind the scenes.

The Bears are confident in Williams as he emerges into a more regular role for the time being. 

As for Williams, his belief has never wavered.

"I pride myself on coming in here every day and just being the best me I can for this team," Williams said. "I really have a lot of respect for the Bears organization, Ryan Pace taking a chance on me. 

"I'm just happy that the Bears have me here."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.