Fun-loving Detroit Lions RB Jamaal Williams: ‘I can do great things here’

Detroit Free Press

He is a self-admitted “nerd” with an infectious personality who is nothing if not honest, so when new Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams was asked Monday if he was upset the Green Bay Packers let him go in free agency, he was refreshingly forthright with his answer.

“Of course,” Williams said in his introductory video conference. “Just cause I was just all in for Green Bay. That’s how you’re supposed to be when you’re on a team. You got to be all in for what you believe in, and I was for the team, do whatever I can, and I wanted to stay there. But the way things happened, it just happened and you got to keep going with your journey.”

The Lions signed Williams to a two-year contract last week to be a key part of a backfield that returns D’Andre Swift and Kerryon Johnson and should be a bigger focal point of the offense this fall.

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Williams played behind Aaron Jones for most of his four seasons in Green Bay, and he said Monday he considers himself “my own main character in my own animated show” — and he’s excited about the next episode.

“The chapter of the Lions, baby,” he said. “And it’s looking good. And I’m enjoying every minute of it just cause I can feel the energy of this team and just how special that we can be. And the support and everything I’m getting from here, it makes me feel I can do great things here.”

Williams spent 15 fun-loving minutes Monday on Zoom, showing a glimpse of the charisma that endeared him to both fans and teammates in Green Bay.

He joked with reporters about their facial hair and nicknamed one veteran scribe “Silver Fox.” He said he plans to buy a record player to immerse himself in Motown. And he explained the pregame dance routine that made him a viral sensation and popular gif.

“Honestly, it’s just me,” he said. “It’s my way of getting in my zone, start centering myself, making my zen work. Just getting focused for the game. And then I’m noticing that me dancing and stuff like that is how people notice me. But I don’t do it for people, I do it for myself just to get ready for the game.”

Williams has averaged about 500 yards rushing a season over the course of his career, but said he’s ready to be “a real workhorse” if the situation calls for it.

He said he is “stoked” to work with new Lions coach Dan Campbell, whose own be-yourself charm has been a hit in Detroit.

“People think I’m a hype man,” Williams said. “Having him, Anthony Lynn, all these dudes that are like, they really be hype men. They’re their own hype men, so I feel like we got so many hype men it’s about to be crazy. This year’s going to be great.”

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And he said he was “made for” pass protection, which is one of the traits that made him a favorite free agent target of Lions running backs coach Duce Staley.

“I just want to do more than what I’ve already (done),” Williams said. “And I don’t want it to feel like, people to feel like they already know my possibilities and how I am already, but they don’t know how far I really can go. And I don’t even know how far I can go because my potential’s unlimited because my mind is, and I’m just going to keep growing and finding things that I need to work. But you can never stop working. That’s my mentality and I know that’s what you need to believe if you want to be a better person always.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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