When Jameson Williams picked 18 for the Detroit Lions, the move probably didn’t garner much attention from fans, but perhaps in hindsight he should have considered the combination.
Williams, himself an apparent historian of football, explained that a pair of Hall of Fame wideouts were the reason for his numbering decision. In particular, Calvin Johnson and Randy Moss. Both players are now inducted into the Hall of Fame and it’s clear this is the path Williams hopes for himself.
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Speaking to the media after practice on Saturday, May 14, Williams was asked for the number, and as he explained, it was a tribute to a couple of Hall of Famers in Johnson and Moss, a couple of guys , to which he clearly looked up to position himself.
“There were a few options. One reason was Calvin Johnson had 81, I saw 81 and wanted to turn it around. Randy Moss was 18 once, he was my favorite receiver,” Williams said, laughing.
In college, Williams wore 1 with Alabama. This Detroit number is currently busy. Of course, that wouldn’t change, even after a little give-and-take between pages.
“No, Jeff Okudah, my brother, got it. The thing is, we’ve already tried (to negotiate), that’s over. I like but (18) how do you think it looks like?” Williams told the media.
Williams couldn’t hide the excitement of being in his first NFL camp and smiled the whole time. It’s safe to say that 18 looks pretty good on him, and it’s a number he can embrace in a big way going forward.
Despite slowly returning to work, Williams already looks like a player who can make a big difference in the league. Early in rookie camp, he caught the eye of head coach Dan Campbell for his preparation and diligence. He’s already working hard despite being off the field and not preparing due to the ACL injury he’s still recovering from.
Williams’ words are certainly interesting in relation to the kit. He’s clearly thoughtful and comes to the league with the right mix of appreciation for the past and motivation for the future. To that end, this shirt tribute could show why he could be primed for success.
The jersey numbers adopted by the rookie class have an interesting history with the lions. Regarding 97, that number was last worn by defender Nick Williams, who was not re-signed this offseason. The closest a major player came to 18 was wideout Kenny Golladay, who wore 19 earlier in Detroit. 93 was recently worn by Da’Shawn Hand, who had a solid rookie season before injuries limited his impact. 31 was Teez Tabor’s number, so fans are hoping for better from Joseph. Tight end Logan Thomas last wore 82, but it was a number popularized by Jermaine Crowell in the late 1990s. Linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin last wore 44 and Tahir Whitehead wore 59. Perhaps Detroit’s most famous 36 was safety Bennie Blades.
Overall, the new class will have a great chance to breathe some football life into these classic numbers for the squad. For Williams, his Hall of Famer reputation at a few sizes will hopefully see him set the same size for the number.
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