Aaron J. Thornton/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

DETROIT — Even before he posed for the customary handshake and picture with NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, quarterback Caleb Williams let out a visceral, reverberating, Ric Flair-esque “Woo!” while walking onto the stage after becoming one of the select few who have topped the list of players during the NFL Draft.

A similar shriek was sure to be duplicated many times over by those on the other side of Lake Michigan, as one of the founding franchises of the league ushers in a new beginning.

As has been suspected for quite a while, the former USC quarterback was selected by the Chicago Bears with the No. 1 overall pick at the draft that was held in the city that houses one of the Bears’ chief rivals, Detroit, Michigan. And while Williams was also introduced quickly to the reception he would get away from the Windy City, hearing a chorus of boos amidst the cacophony of Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza, he also knows that he’s entering a situation where his new franchise and its fans are desperate for a franchise quarterback to emerge, as no Bear quarterback has ever had a 4,000-yard season or thrown for 30 touchdowns in a campaign.

If there is pressure, Williams, a native of another football-mad area, Washington, D.C., sure isn’t feeling it at the moment.

“I handle business on and off the field and then I go to work,” Williams said in the press conference after his selection. “I enjoy what I do. I love what I do. I’m in there with my guys and my guys are seeing me, they see how hard I work, their guy, their QB, and we go get it. We go win games together. That’s the biggest thing is winning games together because I can’t win a game by myself.”

Williams, 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, won’t be tasked with winning games by himself, which seemed like the case when he made many plays off-schedule and running out of the pocket during his time at USC after transferring from Oklahoma. Bears general manager Ryan Poles was busy in the offseason reshaping the team, from trading erstwhile starting quarterback Justin Fields to the Steelers to acquiring former Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver and future Hall-of-Famer Keenan Allen. Later on in the evening, Poles selected another player who will be a target for Williams, University of Washington wideout Rome Odunze, with the ninth overall selection.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday evening’s event, with photos taken by ALOST staff photographer Aaron J. Thornton. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 21 pictures in total.

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