Ultra-fast, ultra-competitive Lions WR Jameson Williams all smiles while idled by ACL rehab

Detroit News

Allen Park — Immediately after he was drafted by the Detroit Lions, wide receiver Jameson Williams showed little emotion in an interview with the NFL Network, and he was similarly subdued the next day at his introductory press conference at the team’s practice facility.

Human nature being what it is, it left many fans speculating Williams was unhappy to have been drafted by the Lions.

Williams laughed off that suggestion in an interview with Complex Sports the following week, blaming his low energy on celebration fatigue, and his nonstop smiling at rookie minicamp on Saturday seemingly served as confirmation.

“That’s just me,” Williams said. “It’s just football. I love football, so I’m going to be happy out here, ball in my hands or not. So on the grass, you’re going to see a smile on my face, for sure.”

Unfortunately, Williams had to take in the day’s practice from the sidelines. He’s still recovering from an ACL tear he suffered in January, an injury the Lions are in no way looking to rush.

If left to his own devices, the ultra-competitive Williams would have probably attempted to suit up. He clutched a football during his media session and excitedly pointed out he was wearing cleats for the first time since the injury. Coach Dan Campbell also noted that Williams had been pushing to get some work in on the JUGS machine.

For the fastest player in college football last season, standing still hasn’t been easy.

“I kind of had to be patient with things going so slow, moving so slow,” Williams said. “I’m used to moving so fast. It’s kind of slowed me down a little bit. Really, patience was the main thing I had to deal with.”

Of course, even if he’s not running routes and catching passes, there’s plenty for Williams to be doing this weekend, from learning the basics of the scheme and playbook to encouraging teammates on the practice field.

“He’s engaged now,” Campbell said. “We put him out there on the grass and that’s his domain. He’s very much engaged. He’s asking questions, he’s got the script, he’s on it. In meetings, he’s very engaged. He asks good questions for where he’s at and for what you want. I know we’re only one day in, but that’s what we’re asking out of he and (tight end) James (Mitchell), for that matter. The mental side of it, be in tune, know what you need to know, listen to all the little details and then give it back to us, and he’s doing that.”

Beyond the cleats and overall enthusiasm, the other noticeable change for Williams is his uniform number. Always a single-digit guy in high school and at both Ohio State and Alabama, he’s selected No. 18 from the limited pool of available options with the Lions.

Don’t go rush to purchase a jersey. He acknowledged he might not stick with it, but he explained the reasoning of the initial selection, tying it to a pair of all-time greats at the receiver position.

“One reason was Calvin Johnson had 81 and seeing 81, I wanted to flip it,” Williams said. “Then Randy Moss had 18 one time. He was my favorite receiver, so 18.”

Like Moss and Johnson, Williams eyes being a game-changing, big-play threat once he gets on an NFL field. He’s also hopeful he gets to meet Johnson and pick his brain some time in the near future

“Eventually it will (happen),” Williams said. “I’m looking forward to it a lot. Gold jacket, someone I look up to a lot, it’s going to be a blessing. Seeing someone like that and hopefully he can give me some of the game and how things run from here, and I can do some of the same things basically.”

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers

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