Former Bear Chris Williams excited about facing ex-teammates
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter November 22, 2013 9:52PM
Former Bear Chris Williams (65) has started all 10 games at left guard for the Rams this season. He was cut by the Bears last season in October. | AP
Updated: December 24, 2013 6:16AM
Former Bears offensive lineman Chris Williams is looking forward to facing his ex-teammates — though there aren’t quite as many of his ex-teammates on the team as he might think.
Williams, a first-round draft pick from Vanderbilt, started 38 games at left tackle, left guard and right tackle for the Bears from 2008 to 2012. But he was cut last season in October and signed by the Rams. He has started all 10 games at left guard for the Rams this season, playing next to perennial Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long.
He admitted it will mean more to play against his former team.
‘‘Anytime you’re facing your old team — and this is my first time doing it — you’re excited,’’ Williams said. ‘‘I’ve got a lot of friends over there [with the Bears], so it’s going to be fun to beat those guys I practiced with for a long time.’’
Actually, most of the guys Williams practiced with are gone. Of the eight linemen who played with Williams last season on the Bears, only center Roberto Garza and second-year guard James Brown remain.
Defensive tackle Stephen Paea will miss the game Sunday against the Rams with a sprained toe. Paea had played in four consecutive games after missing the games against the Saints and Giants with the same injury.
Linebacker Lance Briggs, quarterback Jay Cutler and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff also were officially listed as out. Safety Craig Steltz (concussion) is questionable.
Defensive end Shea McClellin (hamstring), long snapper Patrick Mannelly (calf), right tackle Jordan Mills (quadriceps) and nickel back Isaiah Frey (fractured hand) are probable.
For the Rams, cornerback Cortland Finnegan (eye) is doubtful. Trumaine Johnson has been getting the majority of the snaps at his position this season — including five starts in the last six games — and is expected to start against the Bears.
The Bears promoted defensive tackle Tracy Robertson from the practice squad to fill their 53-man roster. Robertson, an undrafted free agent in 2012 from Baylor, was signed five weeks ago.
Mannelly, who missed the last two games with a calf injury, said he’s 100 percent and expects to play.
He has played in a franchise-record 238 of 247 games in his 16-year NFL career. He missed the last six games of the 2011 season with a torn ACL, but it was ‘‘really tough’’ watching the last two games knowing he could be in there — especially on Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal in inclement conditions against the Ravens last week. Jeremy Cain handled the job without incident.
‘‘I’ve played in those elements before, and I wanted to help Robbie and Adam [Podlesh],’’ Mannelly said. ‘‘But Jeremy did a great job.’’
Cornerback Zack Bowman was fined $15,750 by the NFL for his horse-collar tackle of Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith last Sunday.