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Notes: Jamaal Williams is ready to change the stigma surrounding the Detroit Lions

Last year was tough on everyone, especially for Jamaal Williams. Tyler Dunne of sat down with Williams to talk mental health, anime, football, and everything in between.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

When people think of Detroit Lions’ running back Jamaal Williams, they often default to an image of a happy, enthusiastic person, who seems to enjoy life—no matter what gets thrown his way. They think of the person who is always dancing, playing catch with fans before games, and will use any excuse to discuss his love of anime.

However, as we know, nobody is happy all of the time. No matter how things may seem from afar, everyone has their rough days, and Williams is no different.

You wouldn’t have known Williams was dealing with so much last year based on how he carried himself. Despite losing that many games for the first time in his professional career, Williams was often one of the players that would breathe life into the team when they needed it the most. Whether it was a perfectly executed blitz pickup on a critical third down, or encouraging teammates after a rough series—what Williams brings to the table often cannot be quantified on the stat sheet.

While the Lions were going through the first year of a multi-year rebuild, Williams was doing his best to serve as an example to the younger players on the roster, even though he was dealing with tragedy in his personal life. All within months of one another, Williams lost his biological father, his grandmother, and close friend Aaron Jones’ father.

Not much was going right for Williams, and understandably so, his mental health suffered. But now? He has his mojo back.

“Yeah, I’m enjoying it. I’m loving football more now”, Williams told Tyler Dunne in an insightful sit down interview at . “I’m just trying to make sure nobody steals my joy. I’m trying to be the best version of me and give the best version of me to my teammates.”

Williams appears to be ready for a big season on the field, and more importantly, off the field as well.

Dunne’s full interview with Williams discusses his mental health, anime, overcoming challenges, and changing the perception surrounding the Lions. You can read it in its entirety at It’s worth your time.

And now, onto the rest of today’s notes:

  • T.J. Hockenson was a returning guest on the “Bussin’ with the Boys” podcast this week, which is hosted by Will Compton and Taylor Lewan. The entire episode is nearly 3 hours long, but you can skip ahead to the 33:50 mark and then just strap in for the next two hours or so, if you’re just interested in Hockenson’s appearance.

Or, if you just want a small sample taste of what it’s all about, check out this 11-minute clip when Hockenson talks about how the Lions culture has changed since Dan Campbell was hired as the team's head coach:

  • If you are reading this, then you likely have already seen the Amon-Ra St. Brown video that is now making its way around the internet. The one where he rattles off all 16 receivers taken before him in the 2021 NFL draft. As far as taking things personally goes, Michael Jordan himself would be proud of the Sun God.

  • Speaking of St. Brown. His dad (John Brown) had a few things to say about how athletes work out during Episode 2 of “Hard Knocks” on Tuesday night, and specifically called out Kevin Durant during his rant.

On Wednesday, Kevin Durant responded:

  • Speaking of “Hard Knocks”, MLive’s Kyle Meinke and Ben Raven talked about this week's episode on their “Dungeon of Doom” podcast:

  • The Lions are in Indianapolis for joint practice with the Colts this week—Jeremy Reisman in in attendance and had some observations, if you missed them—and the team released a few highlight videos from Wednesday’s practice, including ones involving Williams, Hockenson, and St. Brown:

There are more in the Lions Twitter feed if you’re interested.

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