Lions rookie Jameson Williams helps in Thanksgiving giveaway

DETROIT — Rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams first reported to Detroit Lions practice 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 history, records, moments and more

The 12th overall pick of the Lions showed up at Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) headquarters on Wednesday to distribute turkeys and gift cards to 100 local families. Though Williams had yet to play in an NFL game while recovering from a cruciate ligament tear he sustained in Alabama in January, he eagerly awaited the opportunity to give back.

“I wanted to get out there and get a chance to come into this community, to talk to people, to communicate with people and to let them know that I really care about the people,” Williams told ESPN.

Williams was accompanied by numerous family members including both parents, James and Tianna Williams. They accompanied him throughout the rehabilitation process and were by his side during his first holiday event. They hope it will become a family tradition.

“It’s just perfect for him to come into town and help out the city,” James said. “It’s better to start helping.”

“Family…can’t break this bond,” Tianna added.

With the Lions in the midst of their first three-game winning streak since 2017, the team is hoping Williams can contribute immediately once he’s vacated.

On his first day on Monday, after the team’s walkthrough, he ran the passing tree routes with practice team quarterback Tim Boyle. Boyle left the practice field believing in his abilities.

“Very smooth and extremely fast. Really good in and out of the breaks, ran really crisp stretches,” Boyle said of Williams. “It was definitely good to see him. You could tell he was excited to be back out there. He was kinda holding back his little grin.”

The Lions have yet to set a firm date for his return, but head coach Dan Campbell reckons it will happen sometime after the Thanksgiving game.

When Williams takes 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 picking the number that gave him his blessing, with the response, “That 9 would move a lot quicker than it does on the field.”

Through community events like the PAL Food Giveaway and potentially high on-field production, Williams hopes to create his own legacy in Detroit once he can finally play.

“Nine is a legendary number for Detroit, but no disrespect, I really want to inherit that legacy,” Williams said. “I want the 9 to be remembered for me and what I’ve done for Detroit.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35093953/lions-rookie-jameson-williams-helps-thanksgiving-giveaway Lions rookie Jameson Williams helps in Thanksgiving giveaway

Emma Bowman

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