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updated: 10/16/2012 10:07 PM

Bears release former first-round pick Williams

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The Bears have given up on former first-round draft pick Chris Williams, the 14th overall selection in 2008.

Williams started 38 games over the previous three seasons but quickly fell out of favor this season, and his contract was terminated Tuesday.

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The move did not come as a surprise, considering he had been inactive for the past two games and had been replaced as the top backup at both tackle spots by Jonathan Scott.

Williams' release leaves offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, who was drafted in 2011, as the only first-round pick still on the roster from former general manager Jerry Angelo's 10-year tenure.

The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Williams started games for the Bears at left tackle, right tackle and left guard. He started the first nine games at left guard last season until a dislocated wrist landed him on injured reserve.

He started 13 games in 2010 (11 at left guard and two at left tackle) and all 16 games in 2009 (11 at right tackle and five at left tackle).

Williams entered training camp in a battle with J'Marcus Webb for the No. 1 left tackle job, which Webb won despite a mediocre performance.

When asked Monday how Williams had handled his recent demotion to game-day inactive, coach Lovie Smith said: "I think just like all of our players, you will have different roles through the course of the year. Chris realizes that. He's coming to work every day just like the rest of our team."

Not anymore.

Cornerback Zack Bowman, a Bear from 2008-11 and a starter in '09, was signed was to a one-year contract to take Williams' spot on the roster.

Bowman started 16 games with the Bears after being drafted in the fifth round (142nd overall) in 2008. He has 117 career tackles, 7 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 22 special teams tackles.

Bowman signed with the Minnesota Vikings this off-season but was released before the start of the regular season.

The Bears on Tuesday also terminated the practice-squad contract of defensive end Aston Whiteside.

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