A Chat with a Bear: Chicago Bears Offensive Tackle William Poehls

Chicago Bears (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

A chance to sit down and talk to an NFL player, past or present, is a golden opportunity to get an inside look at the game of football.  Offensive tackle William Poehls isn’t a guy that many Bears’ fans are going to know right now.  But soon, Bears fans will get to know him very well.  Let’s hear a little bit about what Poehls had to say in a recent interview with this writer.

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LAKE FOREST, IL – MAY 12: Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery /

Just a few days ago, I got a chance to have a conversation with William Poehls, an offensive tackle for the Chicago Bears.  I profiled Poehls in a recent post as part of the countdown to the start of the Bears’ season but wanted to share greater detail about him with Bears’ fans.  The interview was short, but I learned a lot about a player that not too many Bears fans know a lot about.

The Bears signed Poehls, a massive 6-8, 334-pound offensive tackle back in November of 2016.  When his contract ended, the Bears signed him to a reserve/futures contract keeping him with the team in 2017.  He has been through the OTA practices with the Bears this offseason and stands poised to compete for a backup offensive tackle spot in training camp.

Poehls talks about his journey to the NFL and what his three years in it have been like.  We will learn a little bit about the inner workings of the league and what a player has to endure.

So, sit back and see what life as a player is like as we talk to William Poehls, Chicago Bears offensive tackle.

Where did you grow up and when did you start playing football? 

"“I grew up in Chandler, Arizona. I started playing football when I was a freshman in high school and had one real year of organized football.  I was not allowed to play Pop Warner football because I was too big so I had to play flag football.I stuck to playing baseball until high school and then played football at Chandler.” Chicago Bears Bear Goggles On 0d - Chicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback More headlines around FanSided: 0d - 7 best free agent tackle options for Chicago Bears 0d - Is Jakobi Meyers the perfect free agent WR for Chicago Bears? 1d - Could the Chicago Bears look to trade for this Bronco instead? 1d - What Chicago Bears could expect in trade down with Indianapolis Colts 1d - 3 stats to know about Chicago Bears potential pick Jalen Carter More News at Bear Goggles On"

You played for the University Montana.  How did you like playing for the Grizzlies? 

"“I loved playing for the Grizzlies.  My dad is from Billings, Montana so it made it seem right.  I had a lot of fun playing up there.  Playing for them was another kind of experience.  A school like Montana has something that FBS teams would be jealous of.Something I remember most from college was the night game, in the playoffs, that we played against UNI (University of Northern Iowa).  It was on ESPN, and we smacked UNI.  I also remember when we played App State (Appalachian State) in that first playoff game.  We lost to them the year before but beat them the next year.”"

What happened after the draft the year you came out of college?  What teams did you hear from?  What did you think of the process of getting into the NFL and signing with an NFL team? 

"“Before the start of the seventh round, I got on the phone with my agent to talk about options.  I kind of knew that I would be a free agent.  My agent and I had five teams in mind, but the Titans called first.  The whole thing happened really quick.Tennessee called about 15 minutes after the draft ended and after that, I only talked to one other team on the phone.  At that time I was already a Titan, so I didn’t need to talk to anyone else.  We pulled the trigger with them right off the bat.I would say that the experience of getting into the NFL was stressful but not stressful at the same time.  During the entire process, I was lucky enough to be with my family who was with me during the draft.  I was pretty excited for the for the last round of the draft (laughs).  It was an experience and very interesting.Prior to the draft, I visited with the Broncos and the Seahawks.  The Titans were at my Pro Day but didn’t talk to me.”"

The first team that you were with was the Tennessee Titans back in 2014, and you were with them for a couple of seasons.  What was life like with the Titans?

"“It was good although we didn’t win very many games.  We won five games in two years, and it was rough.  I was happy to meet and get to know Taylor Lewan (current Titans’ offensive tackle) as well as Marcus Mariota.  It was a lot of fun to get to know those guys.  And I loved being in Nashville.  I miss the friendships made with the teammates and staff there.”I asked him about playing with the Buffalo Bills as he spent a short amount of time with them on their practice squad.“I enjoyed being with the team.  Buffalo was very different from Nashville. Buffalo was a bit of a lackluster town.  There wasn’t much to do there other than see Niagara Falls.  I wasn’t there long enough to do much.  I do admit that their fans are a little crazy about their team, in a good way.”"

The Bears signed Poehls last November.  I asked Poehls what he thought about the Bears bringing him in.

"“I was absolutely excited to come to Chicago.  It’s one of the most storied franchises in the NFL.  I was cut (by the Bills) and being cut stinks.  When I got the call (from the Bears), and they said they were signing me it was great.  I was pumped to recover so quickly from being cut to being signed.  I was pumped about the staff and the head coach.  It is the biggest city I had ever been in.”I had always been curious what it was like to be on the practice squad in the NFL.  I asked Poehls what a typical day was like in the life of an NFL player on the practice squad.“During the week we practice like the active roster guys do.  We mainly do scout team stuff and most of my time is spent holding bags and pretending to be a defensive guy.  We attend all the practices and meetings same as the other guys.  We don’t travel for away games, and we don’t stay at the team hotel the night prior to home games.  At home games, we tend to be on the field with the rest of the guys.”More from Chicago Bears NewsFranchise tag and transition tag windows open for Chicago Bears and NFLHow the Chicago Bears can control the running back market in 2023The Chicago Bears can own the city of Chicago moving forwardChicago Bears NFL Combine Preview: Quarterback7 best free agent tackle options for Chicago Bears"

I was curious to see what he did to stay in shape prior to the start of the season.  I asked him what sort of activities he did to stay fit.

"“The OTA’s are keeping my fit right now.  Back home I do some training with some guys at D1 with Scott Wells who was a center in the NFL (played for the Green Bay Packers).  I also work out at Brentwood Academy in Tennessee.  I like to mountain bike and ride about five or six miles.”I asked him what OTA’s were like and what a typical OTA practice was like.  He said:“Six hours is the limit in phase three (of OTA’s).  We practice in helmets, and there is no full contact.  Right now we are learning the offense again.  They have changed up some stuff, so we are learning it again and are working out the kinds.  OTAs are pretty low-key.  There are not a lot of people getting hurt.  It’s a good time to build comradery.”"

Do you like training camp?

"“I like football in general, so I like training camp.  I have been on the practice squad for three years, and because of that, I love to practice.  I love being able to put on the pads and start hitting people.  I love the chatter between the offense and the defense.  I might not like it because of how sore I am afterward.  I look forward to playing in a preseason game and hopefully being able to make the active roster.”"

Finally, I asked Poehls what he liked to do in his free time.

"“I like to watch hockey.  In fact, I love hockey.  My wife got me into watching it.  I enjoy mountain biking and woodworking.  I built my bed frame headboard, entertainment center, have made upgrades in the dining room and I have made cutting boards.  I have been playing guitar since I was 12 but I am not very good at playing (laughs).”"