In their ongoing quest to liven up a listless offense, the Bears are adding a former Super Bowl hero.
Running back Damien Williams is signing with the team, his agent tweeted Wednesday, and gives the Bears a potential weapon as a rusher and receiver.
Williams opted out of the 2020 season to care for his mother, who is battling cancer. The last time he was on the field, he delivered a two-touchdown, 133-yard performance to help the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV.
He was a star for them that season with 498 yards rushing, 213 yards receiving and seven total touchdowns. He averaged five yards per touch.
Williams’ arrival likely means an exit for multi-purpose threat Cordarrelle Patterson, who played wide receiver, running back and special teams the last two seasons. Patterson, 30, is an unrestricted free agent and tweeted last week that the Bears have not spoken with him since the end of last season.
Patterson likely will be impossible to replace on special teams, where he earned All-Pro selections the last two seasons because of his work as a kick returner and gunner, but he produced just 550 yards of offense in 32 games. Williams has experience as a kick returner but hasn’t done it regularly since 2015.
Signing Williams should also help the Bears mitigate running back Tarik Cohen’s absence if he’s not ready to return from a torn ACL by the start of the regular season.
Williams, who turns 29 next week, got his start with the Dolphins in 2014. Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was his coordinator his first two seasons. After four seasons in Miami, he played two for the Chiefs and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. The Bears haven’t had a running back hit that average for a season since Jordan Howard in 2016.
The Bears likely still will rely on David Montgomery as their primary running back after he had a breakout season with 1,070 yards rushing and 10 total touchdowns, but adding Williams gives them a dynamic second option.