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Bears sign former Broncos LB Williams

The Chicago Bears may have found a potential replacement to fill the void left by Brian Urlacher, agreeing to terms with veteran linebacker D.J. Williams on a one-year contract on Friday.

After being selected by the Broncos in the first round of 2004 Draft, Williams spent nine productive seasons in Denver before being released after a 2012 season which saw him play just seven games due to drug and alcohol related suspensions.

Nevertheless, he holds experience at all four linebacker positions and has registered 816 tackles with 20 1/2 sacks and 13 forced fumbles over the course of his career.

"We are happy to welcome D.J. to the Bears and are excited to start working with him," Bears general manager Phil Emery said. "This is a great opportunity for D.J. to restart his career after coming off suspension for part of the 2012 season. We see a player that has very good athletic upside who can contribute immediately at 'Mike' (middle) linebacker. He is also a versatile player who has played both outside linebacker positions, giving us flexibility in the draft."

The move comes just days after the Bears decided not to retain the 34-year-old Urlacher, who was unable to come to an agreement on a contract with the club after spending his first 13 seasons in Chicago.