DETROIT — Rookie receiver Jameson Williams reported to Detroit Lions practice for the first time this week then dropped a dime on the Motor City community on the eve of the team’s Thanksgiving Day showdown against the Buffalo Bills.
Read more: Welcome to Thanksgiving in the NFL: Everything you need to know about the history, records, moments and more
The Lions’ 12th overall pick popped up at the Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) headquarters to distribute turkeys and gift cards to 100 local families on Wednesday. Although Williams has yet to suit up in an NFL game while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered at Alabama in January, he was eagerly anticipating the opportunity to give back.
“I wanted to get out and get a chance to get in this community to talk to folks, communicate with folks and let them know I’m for the people really,” Williams told ESPN.
Williams was joined by numerous family members, including both parents, James and Tianna Williams. They’ve assisted him throughout the entire rehabilitation process and were right by his side for his first holiday event. They’re hoping it’ll become a family tradition.
“It’s just perfect for him to come to the city and help the city,” James said. “It’s better to start off helping.”
“Family … can’t nothing break that bond,” Tianna added.
As the Lions are in the midst of their first three-game win streak since 2017, the team hopes that Williams can contribute immediately once he’s cleared.
On his first day back Monday, he ran the passing tree routes with practice squad quarterback Tim Boyle after the team walkthrough. Boyle left the practice field as a believer in his ability.
“Very smooth and extremely fast. Really good in and out of breaks, ran really crisp routes,” Boyle said of Williams. “It was definitely good to see him. You could tell he was excited to be back out there. He was kind of holding back his little smirk.”
The Lions still haven’t set a firm date for his return, but head coach Dan Campbell anticipates it happening sometime after the Thanksgiving game.
When Williams does hit the field, he’ll be rocking former Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s old No. 9 in Detroit. He contacted the current Los Angeles Rams quarterback before selecting the number, who gave him his blessings, with the response, “that 9 would be moving a lot faster than on the field.”
Through community events like the PAL food giveaway, and potentially high production on the field, Williams is hoping to create his own legacy in Detroit once he’s finally able to play.
“The 9 is a legendary number for Detroit, but no disrespect, I really want to take over that legacy,” Williams said. “I want the 9 to be remembered because of me and what I did for Detroit.”