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Bears coach Lovie Smith on Chris Williams: Good guy; it just didn’t work

Updated: November 19, 2012 3:36PM

Chris Williams’ career with the Bears was a saga from the day he suffered a severe back injury minutes into his first practice as a rookie.

The 14th overall pick in 2008, Williams started 38 games in four full seasons. But he never found a position, and the Bears couldn’t find one for him. In the end, even ‘‘swing tackle’’ wasn’t a good fit, and Williams was cut Tuesday, leaving Bears fans to rue the well-worn theories on why he never made it: His arms were too short; three injuries; he never played a full season at any position; he didn’t have a mean streak; he didn’t have weight-room strength.

‘‘Sometimes it just doesn’t work,’’ coach Lovie Smith said after practice Wednesday. ‘‘[You can lament] all the reasons why ... finding a position. It just didn’t work. There’s not a good explanation I can give you except that when it’s not going to work, it’s time to move on. And that’s what we did.’’

Smith was sincerely disappointed it came to that.

‘‘Chris was a good guy in the locker room,’’ Smith said. ‘‘Just a great guy in general. Helped us win a lot of games. But we had gone in a different direction, and when you [do that], you want to let your players have an opportunity to play somewhere. That’s part of the decision we made to move in a different direction. We wish him well.’’

’08 draft revisited

Williams was the third of eight tackle/guard prospects selected in the first round of the 2008 draft. As it turned out, the draft wasn’t quite as loaded with tackles as it appeared — only the Dolphins’ Jake Long (No. 1) and the Broncos’ Ryan Clady (No. 12) have made the Pro Bowl.

But 12 tackle/guards drafted that year are starting in the NFL: Long, Clady, Chiefs guard Branden Albert (No. 15), the Lions’ Gosder Cherilus (No. 17), the Falcons’ Sam Baker (No. 21), the Bills’ Chad Rinehart (No. 96, Redskins), the Colts’ Mike McGlynn (No. 109, Eagles), the Packers’ Josh Sitton (No. 135), the Seahawks’ Breno Giacomini (No. 150, Packers), Saints two-time Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks (No. 164), the Rams’ Barry Richardson (No. 170, Chiefs) and the Eagles’ King Dunlop (No. 230).

It was time

Cornerback Zack Bowman was thrilled to be back with the Bears after spending the first six weeks of the season out of a job.

A fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft, Bowman signed with the Vikings after the 2011 season but was cut before opening week.

The Bears signed him to their 53-man roster Tuesday.

‘‘You just come in here more appreciative of everything,’’ said Bowman, who likely will contribute mostly on special teams for now. ‘‘This is something that I’ve been doing since I was in the fourth grade. To not be able to do it for a few weeks, it sucks. But it’s fun to be back.’’

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