Zack Bowman has returned to the Bears for a second stint in light of Tuesday's release of Chris Williams. (US Presswire)

It wasn't quite the missing man formation.

After the Bears cut backup tackle Chris Williams on Tuesday, the only sign left of him in the Halas Hall locker room Wednesday was a golf putter he left behind by his old locker. And they gave his old corner locker to starting RT Gabe Carimi, who became the only first-round draft pick remaining from former GM Jerry Angelo's regime.

"It’s a cutthroat business," said Williams' former Vanderbilt and Bears teammate D.J. Moore.

The handwriting had been on the wall since the team signed T Jonathan Scott. They added another tackle to the practice squad Wednesday when they signed Cory Brandon, who'd been with them in training camp and on the practice squad in Week 1 before being cut.

"Chris is a professional," C Roberto Garza said. "He’s been around. He knows the business side of it. He knows he’s going to get another opportunity somewhere else. He’s got to make the most of it.

"Obviously they wouldn’t make that move if they didn’t feel secure in what we have."

The player the Bears signed when they cut Williams, former Bear and Viking CB Zack Bowman, couldn't have been more surprised to be called upon by his original NFL team. He'd been cut before the start of the regular season by the Vikings and now will be counted on for special teams contributions. 

"I was shocked when I got the phone call, but then I realized the opportunity that I had, so I was excited," Bowman said. "The first person that popped in my mind was (former Bears safety) Chris Harris. 

"He got released (traded actually) when I got here and then he ended up coming back two years later (by trade). He was the first person that popped into my mind."

Bowman made 22 special teams tackles for the Bears and had become one of their more dependable players on coverage units before they let him leave in free agency and signed Kelvin Hayden. He said his experience in Dave Toub's special teams unit will be a benefit as Bowman tries to take the place of injured CB Sherrick McManis (hip).

"It helps a lot," said Bowman, who hadn't been surrounded by so many reporters since he gave up the game-tying TD in the Bears' Tebow-meltdown in Denver last year. "I’ve only been gone since January, but it feels like a long time. Minnesota was very similar to Chicago.

"I sat in meetings today and basically knew everything."

Bowman spent five weeks working out with retired players back home, and the time out of the NFL left him more appreciative.

"This is something that I’ve been doing since I was in the fourth grade, and then not to be able to do for a few weeks or a month, it sucks," he said. "But it’s fun to be back."

Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSBears.