Calvin Johnson may be well past his playing days for the Detroit Lions, but that doesn’t mean the wideout could stop impacting future generations of pass catchers for the team.
Johnson, who’s long been seen as one of the more receptive retired players in the league in terms of mentoring, seems like he is ready to help one of the newest Lions as he transitions to the league himself.
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Jameson Williams was selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft after a trade up, and it’s clear that Johnson understands some of the pressures that come with being a high pick. Johnson admitted to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard that he is open to connecting with the team’s newest young pass catcher.
“Lions great Calvin Johnson tells ESPN he’s willing to mentor rookie Jameson Williams: “I don’t mind being that person to help guys alleviate that learning curve, especially with him being drafted highly. So, it’s a lot of high expectations on him. I know what comes with that,” Johnson said according to Woodyard’s tweet.
This is a significant development for both Johnson and the Lions. The sides have been embroiled in a feud over money in recent seasons, even as Johnson went into the Hall of Fame in 2021. While it’s possible that feud hasn’t yet calmed down completely, it’s still interesting to see Johnson admitting he is willing to connect with one of the team’s top talents.
Watching to see how Johnson decides to connect with Williams will now be the interesting part in the weeks and months ahead.
Johnson Has Mentored Other NFL Wideouts Before
If Johnson does indeed end up working with Williams, it would not represent the first time the wideout has managed to connect with young wide receivers. A few years after he had retired from the league in 2017, Johnson showed up at Las Vegas Raiders offseason workouts. That move was a nod to his former coach Todd Downing, who worked with the team at the time. While with the Raiders, Johnson connected with players like Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, who were wideouts with Las Vegas at the time. Johnson maintained he wasn’t un-retiring, and kept his promise.
Obviously, the news of Johnson being open to help mentor Williams closer to home is significant for both the player and the former player. Williams could need a bit of a career boost in terms of learning the ropes in the league, especially as he comes off injury. Johnson could need a way to continue to make positive headlines as it relates to the Lions given the tug-of-war between the sides. This could be a happy medium as it relates to that at this point in time.
Williams Talented Wideout Coming off Injury
In terms of what Johnson could be working with, most understand that Williams has the potential to be one of the most explosive wide receivers in the 2022 class. The wideout often showed his speed on the field, and put up some fantastic stats in college. Williams came to the Crimson Tide after 266 yards and 3 touchdowns and set the SEC on fire in 2021. Williams racked up 1,572 yards and 15 scores en route to being one of the top players in college football.
An ACL injury in the National Title game hurt Williams’ chances of being a top-five pick, but he was snatched up by the Lions and is continuing his rehab. Given his talent, Dan Campbell admitted it’s been a challenge so far for Williams to sit and watch so far this offseason.
“It’s not easy, the type of athlete he has been. He’s never really had to deal with this. So this is new to him. It’s not easy to look out there and all those guys are running around. He knows what he can do and what he is capable of, and he’s not there yet. That can be frustrating. We got a plan for him. He’s working, he’s progressing. The football is where he really is obviously is all-in. He eats it up,” Campbell told the media on July 27.
Williams might be able to hone his skills, both physical and mental, with a Hall of Famer in the meantime. That’s not too bad a setup for a potential future stud.
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