The Detroit Lions have consistently declined offering a public timetable on when rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams will return to the field. Williams, the team’s 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is currently on the Non-Football Injury list after suffering a torn ACL in the College Football Playoff.
On Saturday, coach Dan Campbell noted that the team needs more information on how Williams responds to physical activity before they go public with any target return dates.
“Until we really get him out there on the grass and doing some serious cuts and moving and then seeing how he reacts to it,” Campbell. “It’ll be hard for me to say [a return timetable] right now.”
However, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, who was visiting Lions training camp on Tuesday, offered some loosely-worded reports on when he expects Williams return.
“It sounds likely that he is going to start the season on the NFI list, which would take him out at least four games,” Pelissero said on NFL Network. “Probably the most likely timeline for his return is around November. Now, I’ve also talked to people here who say he’s absolutely champing at the bit to get back in right now. He was actually standing on the field kinda tossing the ball to himself, looked like he was holding himself back from going out there and running some routes.”
Now, it’s fair to point out that Pelissero uses a lot of soft language here like “it sounds likely” and “probably the most likely timeline,” so I would not treat his words as gospel. Specifically, his comment on the timeline seems more conjecture than reporting.
That being said, starting on the NFI list would fit most educated guesses about Williams’ status. The Lions have left several hints along the way that suggest they expected him to miss time this year. If we’re being completely honest, it doesn’t appear based on his activity on the sidelines that he’s preparing to practice this training camp.
While he is not yet able to take part in drills, Williams continually shows that he’s mentally engaged in practice. When he’s physically ready, that ensures he’ll hit the ground running.
“He’s on it, he loves that part of it,” Campbell said. “And obviously, you see he loves having that ball in his hands. I mean, he comes up and he’s asking me questions. He’s asking me about the defense and, ‘What if they do this? This personnel with it.’ That stuff is, he loves that stuff. So, it’s good.”