Detroit Lions GM Brad Holmes: ‘No real concerns’ about Jameson Williams after suspension

Detroit Free Press

Jameson Williams will miss the first six games of next season because of a gambling suspension, but Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes said he is not concerned about the second-year receiver’s behavior as a whole.

“Look, he made a mistake,” Holmes said Saturday in his first public comments about Williams’ suspension. “He made a mistake. He takes accountability of it. He knows it. Yes, he is young and he understands the mistake that he made and we’ve had transparent, open conversations about it, but we have confidence that he’s going to take the right approach, he’s going to have the right response in terms of what he needs to do.”

Williams, who appeared in just six games as a rookie last season because of a college knee injury, was suspended April 21 for placing mobile bets on non-NFL games from an NFL facility.

He is allowed to take part in formal offseason workouts, training camp and preseason games during his suspension, and Holmes said the organization will have “a good plan” in place “for when he has to depart and when he has to return.”

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Williams cannot take part in regular season practices during his suspension, but can return to the facility to work out after missing three games.

He will be eligible to play in games either Oct. 22 or Oct. 29, depending on when the Lions’ bye week falls.

Holmes said he has counseled Williams on his social behavior — Williams liked a tweet this spring suggesting the Lions should trade for Lamar Jackson, and liked another one last season suggesting he should get the ball more — but downplayed questions about the 22-year-old’s maturity.

More: Lions’ Jameson Williams gambling: Minor NFL transgression may be bigger cause for concern

The Lions traded up to take Williams with the 12th pick of last year’s draft, Holmes said, after doing thorough research on Williams character.

“We know who Jamo is, and we have a good system for him and for all of our players,” Holmes said. “Player development is No. 1 for all of our players. We said that in Year 1 that, that was our goal and focus. I think each player’s different. Jamo is young and he’s going to continue to mature and he’s going to continue to grow, so yeah, some mistakes will be made, but we communicate with Jamo and we treat him like our other players. We hold him to accountability and we’re always clear and transparent with him and like all of our players. And we just go forward from there.

“But no real concerns going forward. He made a mistake, he takes accountability for it and I know that he’ll learn from it.”

The Lions expect Williams to play a key role on offense once he returns from suspension, but used this week’s draft to fortify their passing game in his absence.

The Lions took Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, one of the top pass-catching backs in the draft, with their first-round pick, No. 12 overall, added tight end Sam LaPorta early in Round 2 and closed the draft by taking North Carolina receiver Antoine Green in the seventh round.

Green is a big outside receiver and vertical threat who will compete for snaps on a unit that also features Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones and Kalif Raymond.

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Along with Williams, the Lions will be without receiver Stanley Berryhill for six games for violating the NFL’s gambling policy, and they cut Quintez Cephus after he was suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games.

“I don’t think that Green can replace Jameson or any of that,” Holmes said. “But we are happy to get Green in the fold and he does add a vertical stretching element.”

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

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