Former East Carolina defensive tackle Terry Williams was an undrafted free agent signed by the Bears, and he has one of the more interesting nicknames.
According to East Carolina beat writer Nate Summers, the ECU defensive line coach Marc Yellock gave Williams the nickname “swamp monster” during his four years playing for the Pirates.
“[Williams] was really glad he earned a nickname…It’s on appearance alone sometimes Terry Williams seems almost as big widthwise as he does heightwise,” Summers said. “One of those football players that comes at you looking like a gigantic square.”
The 6-foot-1, 353-pound nose tackle was a three-year starter at ECU and will try to help the Bears on the defensive line after they released Ray McDonald on Monday.
At ECU, Williams predominantly played a two-gap nose tackle, which means he didn’t move around much on the defensive line — he wasn’t quick enough to beat the tackles one-on-one. New defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said he wants his defensive lineman to play multiple positions.
Summers thinks if Williams wants to make the Bears roster, he’ll have to show he can play more positions than just a two-gap nose tackle.
“I think he can do it,” Summers said. “If you look back at his freshman year at ECU, they looked at him at a few different positions, and ECU was still playing a 4-3 with the old coordinator Brian Mitchell, at that time. [Williams] was already forced to be a not just a one-trick pony kind of a player.”
Under Fangio, the Bears will play a 3-4 defense, but Summers doesn’t see that as a problem for Williams, who played in a 3-4 defense his final two seasons at ECU.
“When ECU went to the 3-4, [Williams] was a big part of it,” Summers said. “He was a main steak kind of guy that they mainly identified as the nose [tackle], and the guy to be the front end of their 3-4. I think it will be a great challenge for him as an athlete.”
After McDonald was arrested for domestic violence and child endangerment, the Bears have to be extra cautious with player’s off the field issues. And Williams had some off the field issues, being suspended multiple times during his four years at ECU. Summers said Williams comes from a good family and shouldn’t have any problems at the NFL level.
“None of [Williams’ suspensions] were violent conduct,” Summers said. “He had a marijuana charge his sophomore year, and that kept him off the field. The other stuff for the rest of his career were some in-house stuff, which is usually grades related and responsibility type of stuff, but it was serve enough [ECU] was keeping a great player off the field for a significant amount of time…My experience with Terry Williams is he’s a soft-spoken kind of a guy. He certainly had some problems, but he’s not a volatile type of guy besides on the field. I knew his dad along the way, and it seems like he comes from a good family.”
The last thing the Bears need is another distraction, and if Williams doesn’t pan out the way the Bears want him to, they have two other nose tackles (Jeremiah Ratliff and Eddie Goldman) on the depth chart.