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Bears eye Notre Dame RB Dexter Williams at local pro day

Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams, left, carries the ball against USC. Mark J. Terrill/AP photo

After trading Jordan Howard, the Bears continue to do their due diligence on running backs entering the NFL Draft later this month.

Friday, the team watched Notre Dame running back Dexter Williams, who participated in their local pro day at Halas Hall. Williams also chatted informally with some staffers on Thursday night.

After serving a four-game suspension to start his final season, Williams ran 158 times for 995 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a 97-yarder. He caught 16 passes for 133 yards and a score. It marked his first season as a featured back for the Irish; he ran exactly 39 times in both 2017 and 2016.

Williams met with the Bears at the Senior Bowl, too.

Northwestern defensive tackle Jordan Thompson was also among the local pro day participants. In four years, Thompson totaled 5 1/2 sacks, 13 tackles for loss and six batted passes. He forced three fumbles, two last year.

The Bears’ local pro day is open to players who attended high school or college in the area. While Notre Dame and Northwestern players are the two major college teams that fit that description, the Bears have found small-college players there before. The Bears identified Illinois State receiver Cam Meredith, a St. Joseph High School alum, at their 2015 local pro day. They signed the converted quarterback as an undrafted free agent; two years later, he led the team with 888 receiving yards.