ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The newest No. 9 for the Detroit Lions is expected to be a lot faster than the old one in the Motor City.
Lions rookie receiver Jameson Williams has officially switched his jersey to No. 9 — Matthew Stafford’s old Detroit number. He shared an image of the uniform on his Instagram account.
Williams originally agreed to wear No. 18 as a nod to Lions great Calvin Johnson, who wore No. 81, by flipping it, but was looking for a single-digit number instead. He reached out to Stafford on his own via text as a courtesy, according to a source.
Stafford didn’t have any issues, the source confirmed. The Los Angeles Rams quarterback wore No. 9 for a dozen seasons in Detroit, where he set numerous franchise records before being traded for Jared Goff and then winning the Super Bowl this past season.
There is no specific timetable on Williams’ return as he recovers from a torn ACL in January during the collegiate national championship game for Alabama. However, the rookie has been in attendance during training camp with a football ever present in his hands. The Lions are being cautious about his return.
“I mean, absolutely — we want get him out there as fast as possible, and is it crucial,” Lions coach Dan Campbell said of Williams during minicamp. “It is crucial, but not until he get his strength up. He needs a lot of strength development in that body, his lower extremities — legs, knees, everything. So, until he’s able to stabilize himself, and really get some strength that we feel good about to where he can protect himself … protect that knee, and he can compete, and compete at a high level, we’re not going to put him out there.”
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