Chicago Bears first-round draft pick, offensive tackle Chris Williams will have back surgery to correct an injury since the beginning of training camp. Williams has been unable to practice because of an undisclosed back injury and prevented him from joining the team. He refused to visit a specialist initially but the Bears announced he will be undergoing back surgery to correct the problem.
There has been no indication how much playing time he will miss or when he will be able to put on pads and start hitting. The back can be a sensitive thing and his return could be immediate or a drawn out process throughout the season. Bears coaches did say they will not be playing Williams on the injured reserve so they must have some idea he can return sooner rather than later.
This news comes just after guard Terrance Metcalf had arthroscopic knee surgery and will be out for an unknown amount of time. The Bears spent this offseason hoping they could improve on the offensive line and now it appears to be making an even bigger setback.
The Bears are so desparate it has been confirmed they are in talks with veteran tackle Fred Miller to return for another season. Miller is a high regarding veteran tackle but last year he missed assignments and was the cause of enough penalties for the Bears to release him from his contract. His return could signal the Bears realizing they have a mess at offensive line. It also doesn’t mean good things for an offensive that was struggling to find weapons even with an improved line.
Significant attention may also be put on members of the Bears organization that approved the drafting of Williams. The Bears had the pick of a few tackles still on the board and members of the organization may want answers why they drafted a tackle with a bad back. Either team officials didn’t give him an adequate workout to discover the problem or they chose to ignore it. Coach Lovie Smith can’t be happy with the development when he was hoping he could build upon an improved line to create a running game.
Bringing Fred Miller back would mean tackle John Tait would have to move from right tackle, where he spent all offseason preparing to play, and move him back to left tackle where he is not as effective. The whole scenerio puts the team right back to the offense of last year that couldn’t control the line of scrimmage.
Hopefully Williams and Metcalf can bounce back quickly before the team starts to lose confidence.