Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams had clear, important goal for vital pre-draft dinner with Bears veterans

Caleb Williams had a goal for his pre-NFL draft dinner with the Bears' veterans -- one it sounds like he accomplished

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Bears general manager Ryan Poles said he got good feedback from his veteran players after dinner with presumptive No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams during the USC quarterback's 30 visit.

For Williams, it was a chance to show his likely future teammates what he's all about and that he's more than the noise and narrative surrounding him.

"It was great to get around the players," Wiliams told reporters Wednesday in Detroit about the dinner. "Obviously, they are going to give the real take of me and get an idea of how I am going to be every day. So that's what it was about and just getting around the guys and seeing if I fit in.

“I’m just one of them. Nothing more. Nothing less," Williams later said of his goal for the dinner. "Same person every day. What they saw at the dinner is the person I am five years from now, 10 years from now, 15 years from now. Maybe just a couple more accolades on that list. Just being the same guy, getting around them, learning them and them learning me.”

Wide receiver DJ Moore, tight end Cole Kmet, and linebacker T.J. Edwards were among the veterans at the dinner.

Williams liked that members of the offense and defense were present at the dinner. He hopes that will allow everyone on the team, even those who weren't present, to get a complete understanding of who he is through word of mouth.

“I enjoyed all of them," Williams said. "It was defensive guys and offensive guys in there. It was a good mix to be able to go back to the guys – if that was the place to go, that I was going to go – it was good for them to be able to go back to the guys and speak on how I am instead of all the stuff that everybody sees everyday on me.”

There has been a lot of talk about Williams' ability to win over a locker room that was strong in its support of keeping quarterback Justin Fields, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Several veterans, including Moore, cornerback Jaylon Johnson, and defensive end Montez Sweat have offered their advice to Williams on how to ingratiate himself to the locker room.

During an interview on "Up and Adams," Johnson referred to Williams as "Hollywood." That phrase was uttered again Tuesday when Poles explained what he learned about Williams from the dinner and what the veterans took away.

"Really intelligent guy. He came across as a really good teammate," Poles said about Bears veterans' feedback of Williams. "Easy to talk to, down to earth. You know, we've talked through this process about, you know, the whole Hollywood thing. He's all ball, wants to work, wants to get better, wants to win as a team. That's the No. 1 thing for him on top of being successful. So I think the biggest thing is: Does he fit with our culture and what we're trying to do? And all signs were that he does, so that's a positive."

The Bears settled on Williams as the No. 1 pick early in the pre-draft process. He is the only quarterback they hosted on a top-30 visit, and the Bears are the only team Williams visited.

Everyone knows Williams will be the No. 1 pick Thursday, even if Poles wouldn't publicly declare his intentions Tuesday.

"I think everyone's got to tune in on Thursday to watch and figure out," Poles said. "But I feel really good about our process, and where we are and where we're headed. So we know what we're going to do but everyone is going to have to wait until Thursday to go there."

"There" will be a new era of Bears football, with Williams as the headliner.

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