For Bears guard Edwin Williams, regular starts within reach
By ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com December 1, 2012 1:18AM
Good-humored Edwin Williams, a guard who made a combined 10 starts for the Bears in 2010 and 2011, is expected to get his first of the season Sunday. | Jonathan Daniel~Getty Images
Updated: January 3, 2013 10:52AM
Bears guard Edwin Williams was an extra set of eyes for 10 games.
From the sideline, he’d identify certain plays, stunts or really anything he saw and relay it to his coaches and teammates. He would do anything he could to help despite being inactive.
‘‘Coaches may ask us what we saw on the play or what happened,’’ Williams said. ‘‘Say it was an unsuccessful play and no one really saw who made the play. Maybe I saw something and maybe speak on it.
‘‘I can talk to one of the guys and be like, ‘Every time this happens, that happens.’ Things like that. We’re just always here to support each other.’’
Some inactive players do the same on the sidelines, but not all of them. Sitting out in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately NFL can be painful. But Bears players say Williams’ willingness to pitch in wherever just about sums him up.
‘‘He fits in great,’’ center Roberto Garza said.
Gabe Carimi has gotten most of the attention this week for his move to right guard. Williams, though, has quietly settled in on the left side. With Andre Gurode and James Brown in need of work, Williams is expected to start his first game of the season Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice always has been a fan of Williams. By giving him a two-year extension in December, it’s also clear the Bears have faith in him, but his chances have been limited this season despite starting seven games last season and three a year earlier.
When Chilo Rachal left the team for personal reasons, Williams dressed for the first time last week against the Minnesota Vikings. As fate would have it, Williams played as Lance Louis and Chris Spencer suffered injuries.
Garza praised Williams’ performance against the Vikings, especially after mainly taking reps at center in practice.
‘‘You can see the versatility,’’ Garza said.
With the offensive line still in flux, Williams now has a chance to solidify a spot for the Bears’ stretch run.
‘‘I’m going to play whatever role they want me to play,” he said. ‘‘But at the end of the day, everybody wants to play. I’ve just got to be prepared and ready.’’
Right tackle Jonathan Scott sits next to Williams in the locker room and describes him as ‘‘a lively person with a good a sense of humor.’’
‘‘I’m pretty sure not being able to play can be pretty disappointing, but he just has a positive attitude,’’ Scott said. ‘‘Positive people always come out on top.’’
It’s an attitude he has despite an upbringing that would have been discouraging for anyone. Williams, 25, was raised by his grandparents as his parents struggled and eventually overcame freebase cocaine addictions.
Williams has said in the past that he’s proud of his parents for what they’ve overcome and that he’s thankful for all the lessons learned. He’s also grateful for all the support he received from his sister and grandparents.
‘‘Sometimes you get homesick being away for so long,’’ Williams said. ‘‘It’s always good to hear their voices.’’
Does Williams feel like he’s playing for his family in a way right now?
‘‘It’s really more so for me,’’ Williams said. ‘‘You’ve got to be your own toughest critic. You know when you’re playing the best ball you can play, and you know when you’re not living up to your potential.
‘‘It’s more so pushing myself, but my family has always been great supporters in anything I do or anything I decide to do. I appreciate them for that.’’
For a player who went undrafted out of Maryland and was cut by his hometown team in the Washington Redskins, Williams knows how to handle disappointment well and be patient.
He has a great opportunity in his hands now.
‘‘This has always been a dream of mine to just to be able to say I’ve played in the NFL,’’ he said. ‘‘But now that my career goes on, I want other things. I’ve set other goals.’’