“We’re going to be very smart with him,” Holmes said. “He’s in a good place right now. It’s not going to be Week 1.’”
Williams suffered a torn ACL in the National Championship Game in January, and he entered training camp on Non-Football Injury list. He has been out there with the team for every practice, but he has not been doing any physical activity—just going through mental reps.
Earlier this month, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said that Williams is likely to be placed on the regular-season (or reserve) NFI list, which would mean Williams would miss at least the first four games of the season. Pelissero’s hypothetical timeline projects a November return for the former Alabama receiver, which makes logical sense considering if the Lions choose to hold him out until their Week 6 bye, he’ll be playing in late October at the earliest.
So this news from ESPN is not all that surprising, but it is the first time the Lions have acknowledged publicly that Williams will miss some regular season time during his rookie season.
The Lions have confidence in their current set of healthy receivers. This offseason, they added DJ Chark into the mix while re-signing midseason addition Josh Reynolds. Both have been standouts in training camp thus far, as Jared Goff and the offense look miles better than where they were at this point last year.