New Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams isn’t sure if he’s going to stick with the number 18 jersey for his rookie season, but he admitted on Saturday afternoon that it’s already starting to grow on him.
“I don’t really know. I like it, though,” Williams said. “How y’all think it looks?”
This early in the process, Williams doesn’t have much of a choice when it came to jersey numbers. Most popular wide receiver numbers have already been claimed by other players who have been on the roster longer. His college number, No. 1, was already occupied by third-year cornerback and former third overall pick Jeff Okudah. Williams, a first-round pick of his own, was fine ceding the number to him, although he did make an attempt to get it.
“We already tried to, so that’s over with. That’s over with,” Williams said. “I have to find something else. We’ll rock on with the 18.”
So why 18?
“One reason was Calvin Johnson had 81 and seeing 81, I wanted to flip it,” Jameson said. T
hen Randy Moss had 18 one time. He was my favorite receiver, so 18.”
Williams certainly has a little Randy Moss in him. Both terrorized college defensive backs with pure speed. Moss, who wore No. 18 for two years with the Raiders, reportedly ran a 4.25 40-yard dash back in 1998. Williams never ran an official 40 due to his torn ACL, but Lions general manager Brad Holmes said his GPS data had him as the fastest receiver in this class.
As for Megatron, Williams said he hopes to one day meet the former Lion and Hall of Famer.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” Williams said. “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.”
For now, though Williams must wait on the sideline for his turn to be like the players he hopes to emulate. As he recovers from the torn ACL suffered just four months ago, he must go through “mental reps” to be ready once the body recovers.
“He’s engaged,” Lions head coach Dan Campbell said before Saturday’s practice. “We put him out there on the grass and that’s his domain. He’s very much engaged. You ask him questions, he’s got the script, he’s on it. In meetings, he’s very engaged. He asks good questions.”
And there stood Williams after practice, script still in his hand, tightly clutching a football and wearing cleats, just because.
“I just had to put the cleats on. I ain’t had my cleats on since January. So it feels really good just to be out here with the guys, just football.”