A Bears season already on tilt in Week 3 at 0-2 took an odd turn that actually is not all that odd at Halas Hall.
After a week of vague details surrounding his absence last week, defensive coordinator Alan Williams suddenly resigned Wednesday, citing health and family reasons.
Williams released a statement on his own to announce his resignation:
“It is with great regret that I tender my resignation as the Defensive Coordinator of the Chicago Bears Football Club effective immediately.
“I am taking a step back to take care of my health and my family. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the Chicago Bears, a storied NFL franchise with a rich history. The McCaskey family is first-class and second to none. I would also like to thank Coach Matt Eberflus and General Manager Ryan Poles for giving me the opportunity to come to Chicago. I would also like to thank President Kevin Warren, the coaches and players of which I value the relationships and camaraderie.
“I value the NFL shield and all that it stands for and after taking some time to address my health, I plan to come back and coach again.”
Williams, who was in his second season as defensive coordinator, left the team last week after a 38-20 loss to the Packers on Sept. 10. His absence and the lack of clarity regarding it led to internet and social-media speculation, including a report that Williams’ home and Halas Hall were “raided” as part of an investigation into presumed wrongdoing.
It was enough to compel Williams’ Chicago-based attorney, Andrew M. Stroth, to address the reports and innuendo, saying there “was no raid on Halas Hall” and “no raid on his home.”
“There’s no criminal or any type of action against coach Williams,” Stroth said.
A Bears spokesman said there was no police activity Wednesday or any other day related to Williams.
Still, the circumstances surrounding Williams’ exit remain murky. Most notably, the Bears’ only comment on Williams’ departure was a terse statement in a press release — “Alan Williams submitted his resignation as the team’s defensive coordinator this afternoon” — that lacked well-wishes for Williams and appreciation for his contribution to the organization. The White Sox’ statement about the firing of Rick Hahn and Ken Williams was effusive by comparison.
And Williams’ statement, which the Bears handed to reporters Wednesday afternoon, was on his own stationery, instead of Bears stationery.
Attempts to reach Williams for comment were unsuccessful. A Sun-Times reporter visited Williams’ house and rang the doorbell. Two people inside did not answer and closed the drapes.
Beyond that, the departure of a defensive coordinator two weeks into the season was a bizarre episode at Halas Hall that presents yet another challenge for a struggling team. The winless Bears play two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
Eberflus, a defensive coordinator for the Colts from 2018 to 2021, told reporters earlier Wednesday that he would call the defensive plays if Williams wasn’t available, as he did in Williams’ absence against the Buccaneers last week.
He said he would lean on his remaining defensive assistants to share the workload left by Williams’ resignation, mentioning safeties coach Andre Curtis, cornerbacks coach/defensive passing game coordinator Jon Hoke, linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi and assistant secondary coach David Overstreet II.
“We have . . . all those guys that have great experience,” Eberflus said. “Guys that have been in our system. So we’re prepared and ready to go.”
The impact on the defense, which has enough issues even outside of Williams’ situation, remains to be seen. But they’re conditioned to move on quickly.
“I hope he’s OK; I hope everything’s all good,” defensive tackle Andrew Billings said. “But when you get to the building, it’s focus on the job first. When you come in here, everything out of the building leaves, and you focus on what’s important, and that’s the next game.”
Contributing: Patrick Finley