D.J. Williams calls replacing No. 54 'a great challenge'

New Bears middle linebacker D.J. Williams officially signed his one-year deal with the team just the other day. He said he's ready for the "challenge" of replacing longtime linebacker Brian Urlacher.

"I see it as a great challenge," Williams said in a statement released by his publicist on Monday. "I think it's a great opportunity for me to get to Chicago and play. I'm not trying to be anybody else or make anyone forget about Urlacher. He's a great player, a Hall of Fame player, and a guy I looked up to. I just can't wait to get there and gel with the team and do my best."

Williams' one-year deal could reach $1.75 million. He was signed just two days after the Bears announced they couldn't reach an "accord" with Urlacher.

Williams, who turns 31 in July, was a tackling machine for the Denver Broncos since being drafted in the first round in 2004 out of Miami. In his career, he has 816 tackles, 20½ sacks, 13 forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, 38 pass breakups and two interceptions.

The nine-year veteran also spoke to the Bears' website on Monday.

"[Urlacher] was a great player," Williams said. "I watched him as a young player in college and was able to be in the league with him. I'm not trying to fill his shoes, even though I probably will be playing his position. Our games are different, so I'm not trying to be him. I'm just trying to be me."

Williams said he feels privileged to be joining a franchise with a history of defensive success and known for its star linebackers.

"To come here and be part of a team that loves defense in a city that loves defense," Williams said. "I'm just grateful and I love the opportunity. I'm excited about it."

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