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Bears coach Matt Eberflus names Caleb Williams starting quarterback

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Bears have named No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams their starting quarterback entering 2024.

Coach Matt Eberflus took care of the obvious Friday, delivering a no-nonsense response when asked who his starter is at this point in the offseason.

"No conversation," Eberflus said of Williams. "He's the starter."

Williams' place in the Bears' hierarchy was cemented as soon as it became clear Chicago was ready to move on from Justin Fields and spent the top pick on the USC star. His selection was a foregone conclusion within a month of the 2024 draft, and now that he's been on the roster for a couple of weeks, it's the ideal time to eschew uncertainty regarding the position.

Fittingly, Williams had a Friday session with reporters, where he was asked about officially being named the starter. The rookie is simply taking everything in stride.

"Obviously, you have goals that you set for yourself right in the moment. Also, you have goals in the future," Williams said. "So that's important, but also understanding the moment that we're in and being in that moment is really important. I would say taking it a step at a time, handling it the way it needs to be handled and being professional is really important. All of those go in one."

Williams is no stranger to the spotlight, given he's been a top name in college football since he took over at Oklahoma, then followed coach Lincoln Riley from Norman to Los Angeles. He's also already well-adjusted to the commercialization of pro athletes, having come up in the nascent era of name, image and likeness opportunities in the collegiate ranks.

But he also knows it's wise to respect his elders. Though he's the face of the future in Chicago, he hasn't earned anything yet.

"To be a great leader, you've got to learn how to follow first. So right now, I'm following all the vets, I'm following all the coaches," Williams explained. "I'm listening, having both ears open and my mouth shut. When I get to the point, when I learn everything, when I learn the ways of how we do with the culture, the playbook and what the offensive line, receivers are all doing, running backs, tight ends and things like that, then you can start taking the lead, then you can start taking the helms of all of it and take the next steps.

"For right now, though, I'm listening more than I'm speaking and talking, and I'm taking it one step at a time, being in the moment."

Eberflus is giving Williams the keys to the franchise, as expected. Williams is making sure he keeps his hands at 10 and two and the car between the painted lines. He'll have plenty of time to cut it loose in the fall, anyway.

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