When will Tyrell Williams return to action for the Lions?

Tyrell Williams has not played since Week 1 and doesn’t seem close to a return, so when might he be back on the field for the Lions?

The Detroit Lions signed two wide receivers who’s names were familiar last offseason. Breshad Perriman didn’t make it to Week 1 before being cut, and Tyrell Williams suffered a concussion in Week 1 after registering two catches for 14 yards on 39 snaps against the San Francisco 49ers.

A Week 5 collarbone injury will cost Quintez Cephus the rest of the season barring an unforeseen fast recovery. That leaves Kalif Raymond, Amon-Ra St. Brown, KhaDarel Hodge and Trinity Benson as the Lions top wide receivers. On the practice squad, Tom Reynolds and the newly signed Javon McKinley could enter the mix on the active roster at some point. Still, the experience level is light as the Lions try to put together a viable group of wide receivers.

There had been some hope Williams would come off IR this week. But head coach Dan Campbell reversed course when asked during an appearance on 97.1 The Ticket Tuesday morning.

“That doesn’t look good right now.”

Asked when Williams might return, Campbell then said,

“I would say that’s off in the distance, for sure.”

When will Tyrell Williams return to action for the Lions?

Concussions are a tricky injury. Players recover and move through protocols at a very individual pace, and no two head injuries are the same. By all accounts Williams has not even started to move through NFL concussion protocol via a non-contact practice, as he now gets set to miss a fifth straight game. At this point, Week 7 and Week 8 look unlikely for him to make his return. The Lions have their bye in Week 9.

After the bye week, Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, might be a tentative target for Williams to return to action. Campbell’s “off in the distance” comment reflects the uncertainty. It can’t be known when Williams might be able to start practicing on a non-contact basis, let alone graduate to contact (while avoiding setbacks) and be able to play.

The percentage chance Williams doesn’t play again this season is definitely more than zero. The Lions won’t make a declaration he’s out for the season yet, as they shouldn’t. But the bye week looks to be an important calendar mark on that front. If Wiliams hasn’t made significant progress by then, his 2021 campaign might be over after it barely started.