The Bears on Wednesday placed nickel back Bryce Callahan on injured reserve with a broken left foot and signed cornerback Marcus Williams to their 53-man roster.
Callahan sustained the injury—which will require surgery—in last Sunday night's 15-6 win over the Rams. The fourth-year pro was in the midst of a breakout season, registering 45 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks, six tackles-for-loss and six pass breakups while appearing in the Bears' first 13 games with 10 starts.
"It's unfortunate," said coach Matt Nagy. "He's had a heck of a season and has been playing really well. He'll have to deal with that. But we're appreciative of how hard he's played all year long, and it's a tough deal for him."
When Nagy was hired in January, he admittedly didn't know much about Callahan, who joined the Bears in 2015 as an undrafted free agent from Rice. But the 5-9, 188-pounder has since become an integral member of the team's dominant defense.
"He's shown me a lot," Nagy said. "The one thing with Bryce is that he's extremely quick, he's very athletic. I guarantee you that he was a really good slot receiver in high school. He's got great hands, he's tough, he's a good kid. He's very valuable. That's a big loss for us.
"But with that said we're going to have the complete mentality of it's the next man up, we're rolling. Bryce is going to be a part of this thing with us as we go. But there's no sulking or none of that. It's somebody else's opportunity and let's go do this thing."
When Callahan exited the Rams game, he was replaced at nickel back by veteran Sherrick McManis. The longest tenured Bears player, McManis has contributed on defense this season after producing primarily on special teams in his first six years in Chicago.
"It's depth and it's guys that understand that if they do get presented with an opportunity, they've got to make the most of it," Nagy said. "That's what he's got to do. That's what he did last week, and then his teammates have got to have his back and help him. And then if there is a play that he doesn't produce on or he makes a mistake on, then he's got to recover and get back and make the next play."
McManis has registered 15 tackles, one sack, one interception and one pass breakup in 12 games this season. His pick came in Week 3 in a 16-14 win over the Cardinals in Arizona.
Asked why he's confident that McManis can successfully replace McManis, Nagy said: "Because he's been showing it all year long. When he's in there, I loved how aggressive he was. Every player on our defense right now has elevated their game. They're playing together. They have the trust that if they're aggressive and they go to make a play, someone's got their back, and he's shown that."
Williams has appeared in 51 games with 15 starts in six seasons with the Texans (2014 and 2017), Jets (2015-17) and Buccaneers (2018). He appeared in two games with Tampa Bay this season before injuring his hamstring. He was placed on injured reserve Oct. 13 and released Oct. 22. Williams has 10 career interceptions, including six with the Jets in 2015.