Pace to Play Left Tackle in Chicago

The Chicago Bears have a left tackle for the future, but it's veteran Orlando Pace and not first-rounder Chris Williams. Pace met the Windy City media for the first time Wednesday, when we learned the Pro Bowler will be staying put at his old position. Bear Report was on hand for the proceedings.

The Midway Monsters took Chris Williams with the 14th-overall selection in last year's NFL Draft to be their left tackle for the foreseeable future, that is until certain Hall of Famer Orlando Pace signed on the dotted line last week.

Promising to be 100 percent healthy after three straight injury-riddled seasons in St. Louis, Pace will indeed be the left tackle in Chicago since he's a seven-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro at that all-important position. Williams will be switching over to the right side, and the fact that he's being asked to make room for one of the best blockers the game has ever seen should make that pill much easier to swallow for the second-year pro. Chicago featured career backup John St. Clair and an aging John Tait at left and right tackle, respectively, this past year, so the offensive line looks to have been upgraded significantly – provided Pace stays on the field and Williams lives up to his draft status, of course.

Pace was pursued by the Ravens but decided on the Bears because he already had a rapport with head coach Lovie Smith from his tenure in St. Louis, liked the idea of playing on grass after 12 years on turf, and wanted to continue lining up at left tackle.


Pace is a seven-time Pro Bowler and three times an All-Pro. (David Maxwell/Getty Images)

"For me, it was a comfort level," said the 6-7, 320-pounder Wednesday at Halas Hall. "No disrespect to Baltimore. They did a great job recruiting me. But just knowing Lovie from years back, it made the transition easy [and] made me feel more comfortable."

Pace has already reached out to Williams and claims the youngster is fine flipping to the other side of the line, as the veteran wasn't particularly interested in making the transition himself.

"I wanted to get into a situation that was right for me," he said. "I'm comfortable playing left tackle. Right tackle would have been a stretch for me. But just in speaking with Lovie and the coaches, they felt that was a better move for me. That made Chicago even more of a sweeter deal for me."

To read longtime Rams expert Howard Balzer's take on Orlando Pace moving from St. Louis to Chicago, CLICK HERE.


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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