Per Ayre Pulli of The Sports Place, wide receiver Jameson Williams “threw a punch” at cornerback Starling Thomas during drills that saw Thomas celebrate a pass breakup. And it came on a day that Pulli described as a frustrating one for the Ex-Tide standout.
Meanwhile, Ken Meinke of Mlive.com added how Williams “took a swat” at the undrafted rookie’s head.
Williams got the chance to address the situation with reporters following practice.
What Did the Former Tide Star Say About the Scuffle?
Williams opted to pass off the brief encounter with his teammate — describing it as “physical play” and how the two sides moved forward immediately on the next play.
“I just look at it as football,” Williams said to reporters after practice. “Physical play. We got over it next play. Nothing too much.”
Williams acknowledges, though, that this kind of aggressive behavior will lead to a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct and would involve disciplinary action by the league. But emotions run high in a sport like football. And lucky for him, this altercation happened during practice and not on a Sunday in the fall.
“It’s football. We know we can’t do that in a game; it’s 15 yards. It’s just practice, though. Things get rowdied up and things happen. But we talked it out. We’re good,” Williams said.
Is Williams Already on the Hot Seat in the Motor City?
Williams was one of three Alabama All-Americans in the 2021 season — joining quarterback Bryce Young and edge rusher Will Anderson.
He delivered 79 catches for 1,572 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in his final campaign at Tuscaloosa. Included in his ’21 season, seven 100-yard games including four straight between October 23 to November 20.
His dynamic plays were enough to convince the Lions to swoop him up as the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft — becoming the fourth out of six receivers taken in the first round. He was described as a “linear route-runner with electric long speed to impact a game as a home-run hitter or decoy drawing defenders away from other elements of the offense,” by nfl.com draft expert Lance Zierlein.
However, he’s had a rough start to his NFL career. He managed just six games of action and zero starts due to a torn ACL. He settled for just one catch for 41 yards.
His first part of the 2023 season also is off to a bad start. In May, he was involved in the league’s gambling scandal and is suspended for the first six games of the upcoming year. Williams claimed he had no idea he was in violation of the league’s gambling policy in speaking with reporters back on May 25.
Williams stated “I was sick, I was hurt,” about the news he was getting suspension. Though he owned up to his mistake and stated he’s planning to focus more on developing his NFL receiver game.
Williams does have a backer in head coach Dan Campbell, who addressed the situation also on May 25.
“Look, he knows,” Campbell said to reporters. “I mean, he’s gotten it from everybody. And so, look, it happened. It’s an emphasis in the league right now. It’s a big thing. Our players know. We’ve tried to hammer it home. Certainly we did after that point and a few more times and we’ll just keep doing it. But listen, it’s happening. The suspension is happening, and so now what do we do to move forward? You’re not going to be here, so in the meantime, let’s get the most work we can out of you.”
Williams is one of 12 receivers at camp for the Lions. The team recently added veteran Denzel Mims via the New York Jets, who now has an early chance to get an increase in snaps as Williams serves his suspension for the early portion of the year.