Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams opened his press conference Sunday with a special message to the military members and first responders who attended practice at Halas Hall.
"I'd like to say thank you; we owe you a debt of gratitude," Williams said. "My father was military, so I know how it is, for those people to serve and give and sacrifice. So I wanted to say thank you to them. We appreciate them coming out and supporting us and being out there. Anything we can do to entertain and inspire, we'd like to do that."
Williams revealed that his father was a 20-year army officer who piloted Mohawk airplanes in the Vietnam War.
Growing up, the Bears defensive coordinator moved several times, living in Virginia, Arizona, Kansas and Texas. Never staying in the same place for very long prepared Williams for the nomadic life of a coach. Since leaving William & Mary to enter the NFL in 2001, he has moved six times and lived in five different cities: Tampa Bay (2001), Indianapolis (2002-11), Minnesota (2012-13), Detroit (2014-17), a second stint in Indianapolis (2018-21) and now Chicago.
"He always said, 'We don't have to move; we get to move," Williams said of his father. "That's kind of how we looked at it as a family, and that's how our family looks at it as a coach. You move around a lot. People always say with your children, 'Is it a major deal?' Yes, it is, but [we] get to be in Chicago. It's not 'we have to.' We love being here."
Williams also loves football, but given his father's background, the longtime coach declines to utilize military metaphors when discussing the sport.
"I try to stay away from the things like, 'we're going to war' and that type of thing," Williams said. "We really aren't. We're playing a tough game, but we get to play football. I get to be the defensive coordinator. So, I stay away from the metaphors … it's not do-or-die. We still have next week to play a game to get it right. That's how I look at it."
Military organizations who were invited to attend Sunday's practice included USO of Illinois, Merging Vets and Players (MVP), T.A.P.S., Great Lakes Naval Base, Blue Star Families, Road Home Program and Warrior Wishes.
First responders who were invited included Volunteers of America, Highland Park First Responders, the Waukegan and Grayslake Police Departments and the Carpentersville Fire Department.
Sunday was the fourth and final Community Day at Bears training camp. The previous three were Community Day July 27, Youth Football Community Day Aug. 1 and the Back to School Fair Aug. 6.
Roster moves: In other news Sunday, the Bears signed fullback Jake Bargas and placed receiver David Moore on injured reserve.
Bargas entered the NFL in 2020 with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent from North Carolina. He spent most of the past two seasons on Minnesota's practice squad, appearing in two games—one in 2020 and one in 2021.
Moore was injured Aug. 9 during the Bears' Family Fest practice at Soldier Field. He signed with the team in April after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Seahawks (2017-20), Broncos (2021) and Packers (2021).