Caleb Williams’ Accessories Won’t Be the Defining Factor of his Future in Chicago

The Chicago Bears are back in a position they’ve grown accustomed to over the past decade. Starting over for the Bears has been nearly as common as deep-dish pizza on a Friday night in Chitown. Chicago drafted their third “franchise saving” quarterback since 2017 when they selected Caleb Willimas of USC with the No. 1 overall pick. Unlike previous QB picks for the Bears, Williams’ arrival comes with characteristics seen as controversial by some. 

“If you can play football and win football games… nothing else matters” – Cam Newton

Leading up to the draft Williams’ personal preference for painting his nails and toting a pink phone became the topic of discussion for many. Whether he’ll become the franchise leader Chicago’s desperately searching for took a backseat. What it should come down to is how good of a football player Williams can be. 

Because Caleb doesn’t fall into the traditional category of what an NFL starting QB looks like, he’s viewed as eccentric. Williams’ unwavering swagger in the face of so-called controversy should be noted. Social had a field day jabbing him about the pink nails and phone. To his credit, Williams hasn’t shied away from being himself. He kept right on with his pink phone and painted nails.

“It started, I would say, three years ago,” Williams explained in October 2023. “It was my last year of high school. My mom does nails. Let’s just start it off there. She’s done it my whole life. It’s just kind of always been around me. Nobody else does it. I just kinda like to do new things.”

This generation is different just like each one before them differed from the previous generation. As Newton alludes to, Gen Z is something different, but they are the ones who will inhabit the National Football League for the next decade. If Williams can play as expected much of this will be a mere footnote. 

And Williams isn’t even the first NFL player to openly wear fingernail polish. Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf has been rocking painted nails for some time. However, the backlash he’s faced pales in comparison to that of Williams. Maybe it’s because of the positions they play in QB vs WR.

Metcalf is a two-time Pro Bowl selection in his five-year NFL career. He’s also been named second-team All-Pro once. Regardless of how anyone feels about it, Metcalf has been a productive player in Seattle for years. And that’s all that’ll matter for Williams once he finally steps on the field for Chicago. 

This former Heisman trophy winner hasn’t taken an NFL snap and he’s already a polarizing figure. There’s a much greater chance of the Bears front office ruining him than the nail polish or pink phone. Mitchell Trubisky lasted four years before he was sent packing after being drafted No. 2 overall in ’17. Justin Fields’ time was up this offseason following a three-year stint. Fields was the No. 1 overall pick in ’21.

With this organization mismanaging QBs has become an art. So, the last thing anyone should be worried about with Williams is him painting his nails. The current front office regime in Chicago seems to be doing all they can to set Williams up to succeed. Behind general manager Ryan Poles, the Bears finally seem to be getting their act together. 

Along with taking Williams in the first round, Chicago also grabbed another offensive weapon in WR Rome Odunze out of Washington. Odunze joins an offense that’ll feature DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and D’Andre Swift this fall. Phones and nails should be the last of anyone’s worries, especially Bears fans. Now it’s a matter of head coach Matt Eberflus and his staff putting it all together.

Updated: May 9, 2024 — 3:01 pm