ALLEN PARK, Mich. — It was apparent from the moment he settled on the No. 18, Lions rookie receiver Jameson Williams was neither thrilled nor intending to stick with it.
That's the nature of being a rookie, joining a roster so late in the offseason — there are only so many numbers remaining. In May, Williams reasoned with himself that 18 was the inverse of Calvin Johnson's No. 81 and also a number Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss had worn during his time with the Oakland Raiders.
But before even suiting up for the Lions for the first time, as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL suffered in January, Williams has a new number, one that's well known by Lions fans.
Williams is officially switching to No. 9, the uniform long worn by former quarterback Matthew Stafford. A team source confirmed the switch on Wednesday after Williams posted an Instagram story with a photo of the front of his new jersey. And according to ESPN, Williams went the extra step to get Stafford's blessing before making the change.
Williams, selected in the first round by the Lions, doesn't have a timetable to return to action. The team is taking it patiently with the speedster's rehab, knowing they have plenty of depth at the receiver position.
Williams wore No. 1 for Alabama last season, but that belongs to cornerback Jeff Okudah in Detroit. The two played together at Ohio State prior to Okudah being drafted by the Lions and Williams transferring ahead of the 2021 season.