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Lincoln Riley downplays rumors that Caleb Williams doesn’t want to play for Bears

We haven’t even reached the peak of the 2024 offseason yet — as there’s still one game left to be played — but the Chicago Bears and Caleb Williams discussion has dominated the headlines.

There’s been rumors and speculation about whether Williams wants to come to Chicago, who’s expected to draft him with the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft.

USC head coach Lincoln Riley, who recruited Williams to Oklahoma and then USC, appeared on “The Pat McAfee Show”  and sounded off on all of the rumors that Williams doesn’t want to be drafted by the Bears.

“I think it’s a total smokescreen,” Riley said Monday. “I think it’s people playing the game. Like knowing Caleb, location-wise, I don’t think he cares one bit about where he’s at. All of these franchises are in really good cities. There’s advantages to anywhere that you could go. He wants to win. He wants to be a guy that’s playing [in the Super Bowl]. I think for him, it’s less about location and it’s more about getting in the right situation where he can continue to develop and do the things that he needs to do to help a franchise be successful.

“That’s it. He’s got a one-track mind that way. No, I don’t think there’s any truth to that all. The guy wants to win. He’s a competitor. He’d love to go first overall. Who wouldn’t? But at the end of the day, it’s about winning for him and nothing else.”

As far as situations go, Chicago would be a great one for a first overall pick like Williams. The Bears weren’t the worst team in the league; they acquired the top selection from the Carolina Panthers. Chicago has a dominant, ascending defense, some impressive weapons on offense and they’re trending in the right direction.

If there’s anything that might give Williams’ camp cause for concern, it’s the Bears’ inability to develop quarterbacks in its storied 100-plus-year history. But, if Williams really is as good as people believe, he should be able to break that curse (with some help from general manager Ryan Poles).

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire