"Big Cat" glad to have Jauron

The Bears will wrap up the 2002 preseason Thursday (6 p.m. CST) at Miami. It's the first of two meetings between the teams this season and an opportunity to beat former head coach Dave Wannstedt, who spent six seasons (1993-98) in Chicago.

There are only a hand full of players that were with the team when Wannstedt was the head coach. James "Big Cat" Williams is one of those players and he doesn't remember it as a pleasant experience.

Wannstedt, who's entering his third year as head coach of the Dolphins, was notorious for having physical training camps with the Bears. Williams sympathizes with the Dolphins cast.

"I'm going down (to Miami) for work right now," Williams said Tuesday. "But I feel sorry for the guys that are down there because I'm sure they're about half dead by now."

When Dick Jauron was hired as head coach in 1999 the former Pro Bowl safety brought a players mentality to training camp.

"You get a coach that played and understands what his players are going through and that's Dick," Williams said.

"He knows that camp is a time when you separate the men from the boys, but you also need your starting 11 on both sides plus special teams to be able to play once the season rolls around. I think Dick understands that."

Williams said players were often wore down by the midway point of the season and joked that the group was fatigued before they broke camp.

Veterans understand that games are won and lost on the field and if injuries mount in training camp then the chances of that team recovering are diminished.

"You have to appreciate the guy," Williams said. "He takes care of his players. You always hear people around the league talk about how the best coaches are the ones that care of their players.

"He took care of us last year. A lot of us were able to stay healthy and look where it got us. If we can stay healthy this year, who's to say where we can go?"


Bear Report Top Stories