Bears sign running back Damien Williams and DB Artie Burns via free agency

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By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor

With NFL teams adding more players to their rosters via free agency, the Chicago Bears added a few players of their own, signing running back Damien Williams and defensive back Artie Burns to one-year contracts on Friday, March 26.

According to a Chicago Bears press release, Williams will be entering his seventh year in the NFL and his first with the Bears after a two-year run in Kansas City (2018-19) and four seasons in Miami (2014-17), where he was originally signed as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma.

Williams opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Over six seasons, Williams has appeared in 85 regular-season games, totaling 1,231 rushing yards on 294 carries (4.2 avg.) and 12 touchdowns. Through the air, Williams has added an additional 1,106 receiving yards on 138 receptions (8.0 avg.), while finding the end zone 10 times.

In addition to his regular-season performances, Williams’ teams have also reached the postseason on three occasions while compiling a 4-2 record in those outings.

Following the 2016 regular season, the Dolphins fell to Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round with Williams scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown through the air.

His most recent year in the NFL in 2019 resulted in a Super Bowl championship in Miami when the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-20.

Williams started all three post-season games and rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns throughout the club’s post-season run, including a 104-yard outing in the Super Bowl. He also added 94 yards through the air with a pair of scores, including the fourth-quarter, game-winning touchdown reception in the Super Bowl before later adding a 38-yard touchdown run to seal the victory.

He became the first player in Super Bowl history to record a rushing and receiving touchdown while also rushing for 100-plus yards.

In total, Williams has 11 career post-season touchdowns, which is the second most among active players (Rob Gronkowski, 14). He is the only player in the Chiefs’ history to record multiple 100-yard rushing games in the post-season.

His 10 touchdowns, six rushing touchdowns and 60 total points are the most in the Chiefs’ post-season annals.

In addition to Williams’ free agent signing, Burns will be in his fifth NFL season after originally being drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2016 draft (25th overall) out of the University of Miami (FL). He has played in 58 games with 32 starts, tallying 144 tackles (117 solo), four interceptions, 27 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

In his first two seasons in 2016-17, Burns started 25 of 32 games for the Steelers, recording four interceptions, four tackles-for-loss and 26 passes defensed.

Burns, who originally signed with the Bears last March, missed the 2020 season after sustaining an injury in the preseason.

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