Caleb Williams

Caleb Williams' text to new punter Tory Taylor latest sign of new Bears era beginning

Punter Tory Taylor should have a much easier life in Chicago than he did during his record-setting career in Iowa

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- For punter Tory Taylor, heavy usage was the expectation during his record-setting college career at Iowa.

The Hawkeyes' offense was dreadful, leading Taylor to punt 295 times in his four-year career, including 93 times for 4,479 yards in 2023.

But Taylor's football life should be much less labor-intensive in Chicago. At least that's the promise new quarterback Caleb Williams made to his teammate after the Bears drafted Taylor in the fourth round with the 122nd overall pick on Saturday.

"Caleb texted me and said, 'You're not going to punt too much here,'" Taylor told Chicago media on a Zoom call after the selection.

The Bears drafted Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, with the No. 1 overall pick Thursday. They followed that by selecting Washington star wide receiver Rome Odunze at No. 9. Odunze joins a dynamic skill group that includes wide receivers DJ Moore and Keenan Allen, tight end Cole Kmet, and running back D'Andre Swift.

Should the Bears' offense get stuck in the mud, Taylor's big right leg will help flip the field.

Last season, Taylor kicked an NCAA-best 93 punts for 4,479 yards and an average of 48.2. Forty of his punts went 50 or more yards, while 32 were downed inside the 20, and only seven went for touchbacks.

Taylor set the NCAA single-season record, breaking a record set by Johnny Pingel in 1938.

In comparison, Bears punter Trenton Gill finished the 2023 season last among qualified punters in net average per punt at 38.0 yards and had the third-highest touchback percentage.

In Taylor, the Bears drafted a different kind of weapon—one Williams plans not to use too much.

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