Dean Campbell reveals ‘it’s not easy’ keeping Jameson Williams busy in Lions camp with ACL injury

Jameson Williams started training camp on the non-football injury list for the Detroit Lions, which wasn’t surprising because head coach Dan Campbell didn’t expect his first-round wide receiver to be ready for the start of practice.

Getting Williams ready for the season is one of the top priorities for the Lions, especially since he expects to be a key contributor to the offense sometime in 2022. When that opportunity comes, the Lions will look to take full advantage of it.

The challenge now for Campbell? Keeping Williams busy even though he won’t be on the football field.

“We’ll find out, but it’s not easy. When you’re a player like him and what he’s been and the type of player he’s been, it’s not easy,” Campbell said. “He’s never really had to deal with it and so it’s new to him. It’s not easy to look out there and have all those guys running around, and he knows, ‘Man I could have—'” He knows what he can do, and what he is capable of.

“He’s not there yet, and that can be frustrating.”

Williams is certainly going to be an impact player when he’s 100% for the Lions, as 1,329 of his 1,561 receiving yards last season at Alabama came when he was deemed open (per Pro Football focus). He averaged 9.3 yards per reception and was fourth in the nation. Williams also had nine catches of 50-plus yards last year – which tied Ja Marrer Chase for the most by a player in an FBS season.

Simce Williams is on the active/NFI list, unable to practice until he is medically cleared. If Williams is moved to the reserve/NFI list after the 53-man rosters are set, he would have to miss the first six weeks of the season. Week 1 is in the air.

“We’ve put a plan in place for him. He’s working and he’s making progress. I think that’s big,” Campbell said. “Football is where he’s really at — obviously, he’s all in. He loves it. He eats it up, and he knows what’s going on. He pays attention in walkthroughs and meetings. I think it always has to start there.

“That’s the goal, and that’s the reach. That’s where you’re going, but to get there you’re starting here. We have a plan, and it’s going to be a tough few days. , that’s part of the recovery. It’s not always easy, but he’ll get there.”