Calvin Johnson reportedly returned as a guest at Detroit Lions practice during minicamp. Johnson is back around the Lions thanks to his improving relationship with the organization.
With that relationship getting better, Johnson says he is looking forward to playing a role with the Lions again, especially with young wide receiver Jameson Williams.
“I connected with Jamo (Jameson Williams) yesterday really for the first time, and I look forward to being around him and being a shoulder for him to lean on,” Johnson said while appearing in 97.1 The Ticket on June 9. “Extremely talented kid. We saw him when he touched the field last year for the first time.
“I look forward to just helping him build the level of consistency and being the pro he wants to be, man. Anything I can to do help him, I’ll do that, and I’ll be there.”
Johnson made his first appearance at Lions practice this offseason on May 24.
Calvin Johnson’s Message for Jameson Williams
Williams’ career hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts.
He didn’t make his NFL debut until Week 13 because of a torn ACL he suffered in college. The injury wasn’t Williams’ fault, but on April 21, the NFL suspended him the first six games of 2023 for violating the league’s gambling policy.
By the middle of October, Williams will have missed 17 of a possible 23 games to begin his NFL career.
That’s obviously not ideal. Neither has been some of the receiver’s activity on social media.
But Williams having a Hall of Fame receiver such as Johnson part of his support system would be much more ideal.
“It’s really just how you interact with that adversity,” Johnson said of Williams during an interview with Fox 2 News reporter Ryan Ermanni on May 24. “How do you combat that adversity? Do you allow the adversity to hold you down or do you push up? Do you thrive? Do you stand back up? This is all about getting back up.
“No matter how many times you’re getting knocked down, you just got to keep on getting back up and you’ll find success.”
That’s a pretty solid message for Williams. But now that Johnson and the 22-year-old have officially connected, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Johnson offer additional support more specific to Williams’ situation.
Williams will miss the beginning of the regular season for the second time in as many years.
Lions’ Dan Campbell Raves About Calvin Johnson
Johnson’s impact on the Lions could go beyond just what he can provide Williams. At least that’s what Lions head coach Dan Campbell described.
“To have him out here, there’s a level of respect that will always be there for me. But even our players, they know who he is,” Campbell told the media. “Anybody who has played this game, they understand the type of player he was from a production standpoint.
“I wish they knew what kind of teammate he really was. I wish they had a chance to actually play with him. But it’s good to have him here. It is. It’s good for us.”
Campbell spent 10 years in the NFL as a tight end, playing his final three seasons for the Lions from 2006-08. Johnson arrived in Detroit as the team’s first-round pick in 2007, so the two were teammates for two seasons.
Johnson retired at 30 following the 2015 season. The Lions made Johnson pay back his $1.6 million bonus money due to his early retirement. That’s led to the Lions and Johnson, who received induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, experiencing an estranged relationship.
But the two sides have made progress to repairing that relationship. If it continues, Williams, and other Lions players, figure to only benefit from more Johnson advice.