CHICAGO, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The Chicago Bears have released 2008 first round draft pick Chris Williams, the team announced today.
The 14th-overall pick out of Vanderbilt, Williams was drafted to fill the most important position on the team's offensive line, left tackle, though he made just seven starts at the position during his up-and-down tenure in Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reports Williams roster spot will be filled by cornerback Zack Bowman.
Williams was a controversial selection almost immediately when, on the second day of training camp, it was revealed he had a lingering back issue that required surgery. After missing the first seven games of 2008, Williams returned, eventually playing all 16 games in 2009, but mostly at right tackle. A hamstring injury cut his 2010 season short and a freak wrist injury in 2011 caused Williams to miss more time.
Williams had been inactive for the last two games, though Williams said he's healthy and in the best shape of his career. He told the Tribune he has already been contacted by one team and expects to have multiple offers from which to choose.
Williams is still eligible to collect his $1 million salary from the Bears for the final year of his contract.