Flying high after a primetime win over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football, the Detroit Lions got another dose of positivity on Monday when the NFL announced Jameson Williams would be eligible to return from a suspension earlier than expected.
Originally suspended six games by the league for gambling on sports other than NFL football while at the team’s workplace, the talented wide receiver is back with the Lions after the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to revised penalties under the league’s gambling policy. As a result, Williams is cleared for all activities moving forward, including Sunday’s home game against Carolina.
The No. 12 pick of the 2022 draft, Williams appeared in just six games last season as the Lions eased him back slowly as he recovered from an ACL tear in his left knee that he suffered during the national championship game when he was playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Williams only had one catch last season, a 41-yard touchdown.
Detroit’s offense is already doing a good job moving the ball and putting up points, so getting Williams involved and up to speed as soon as humanly possible is not a top priority. Instead, head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson have the luxury of taking their time adding the firepower that Willams brings to the lineup. With wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown already a big-play threat, Williams can serve in a complementary role, at least to start.
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“He just needs to come in, and I’m not worried about him working, he will. It’s just about polishing all the little things and we also know if he does play, he can’t play 60 plays, that’s not smart,” Campbell told The Oakland Press. “We can’t do that to him. So we’ll see where it goes. It’s all about improvement, no different than the rest of the team. Every week we’ve just got to get a little bit better. He just needs to get a little bit better and we’ll go from there.”
Already off to their best start in years, the first-place Lions have an excellent chance to add to their lead in the NFC North on Sunday with a win against Carolina. One of two winless teams (the Bears are the other), the Panthers are nine-point underdogs to the Lions. Dating back to last season, the Lions have won eight of their last 10 games. The Panthers have lost seven of 10.