Despite Injury, Roy Williams Ecstatic

Roy Williams left in the third quarter of today's contest with a hamstring injury. Yet despite that, the veteran wideout was all smiles after his first game as a member of the Chicago Bears.

Roy Williams couldn't have been happier had the Chicago Bears just won the Super Bowl. From the grin on his face to his bouncy demeanor, it was easy to see the day had gone exactly as he had planned.

Was the cause for his joy the Bears' 30-12 season-opening win over the Atlanta Falcons or the receiver's four receptions for 55 yards in his debut with the team? Actually, it was the fact that he'd picked Chicago's defense for his fantasy team.

"A great choice," Williams laughed. "Just from watching them in practice I knew I was picking right. Look at what they did. Takeaways, touchdowns, great tackles. It doesn't get any better than that."

Williams may be on to something, as the Bears came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders against the Falcons this afternoon.

"It wasn't just the defense, it was the offense, the special teams unit, the receivers, the rushers, the lines, Cutler, you name it," said Williams. "Everything and everyone was in sync. What a beautiful experience on a beautiful day."


WR Roy Williams
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Williams left the game in the third quarter with a hamstring injury but obviously it did nothing to damper his enthusiasm.

The Bears came into today's game three-point home underdogs to a formidable Atlanta team that finished with the best record in the NFC last season. The experts had picked Chicago to struggle in their first three contests against Atlanta, New Orleans and Green Bay. The players felt instead they could begin the season with a statement about unity, about skill and about spirit.

It wasn't easy to switch into game-day mode today after a rousing on-field tribute to the fallen of 9/11, where first responders carried a field-sized flag on to the turf and Chicago Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison belted a goose-bump inducing National Anthem.

"Of course we were moved," Williams said. "How could we not be? It was fitting to have that moment of silence, to begin the day with thoughts of the victims. But once that ceremony was over, we had to change mentally into a game-day frame of mind."

Williams didn't have the luxury of easing into this one, as he was Cutler's target on the third play of the game, a 24-yard completion.

"I want to think that set the tone," he said.

Cutler's line protected him well, allowing him adequate time to find his targets most of the afternoon. Receivers Devin Hester, Matt Forte, Johnny Knox, Kellen Davis, Earl Bennett, Matt Spaeth, Dane Sanzenbacher and Kahlil Bell all caught at least one pass, accumulating in 312 yards through the air. Cutler himself seemed more mobile and perhaps, more importantly, more relaxed.

"I can't speak for Jay in terms of how relaxed he might have been," said TE Kellen Davis, "but it did seem that he was able to accomplish a lot in the pocket. I think it's more a matter of everybody being on the same page right now. I don't read the reports on us in the media so I have no idea what the sportswriters think of this team. All I know is what I see every day.

"There is a tremendous energy on this team and a sense that we are all in this together. I think you could see that out there today. Every single phase contributed. We were on the sidelines cheering for each other. That, to me, says a lot about the spirit of this group."

WR Dane Sanzenbacher, playing in his first regular season game, seemed just as giddy about the outcome as both Williams and Davis.

"What a great start," Sanzenbacher said. "There was no time to be nervous. It was just a matter of getting in and getting things going."

But still, with New Orleans and Green Bay on the horizon, is the celebrating premature?

"Not at all," Williams said. "You savor the moment then you build momentum. That is how a team gets confidence. I love this experience. I even like the song ‘Bear Down' now. That used to drive me crazy when I was playing for Detroit. I'd definitely have these guys on my fantasy team on a regular basis."


Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.


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