The Detroit Lions did it, activating rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams off the NFI list in time for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.
Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams starting practicing the Monday before Thanksgiving, and on the holiday morning Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported there was a good chance he’d make his debut in Week 13 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Head coach Dan Campbell squashed some of the optimism early this past week, by realistically saying it’d be a tall order for Williams to be ready to play off just three normal practices. Then on Friday Campbell said a decision had not been made on activating the rookie before Sunday.
Saturday afternoon was the last opportunity to announce Williams’ activation if he was going to play against the Jaguars. The team announced the move, lining up Williams for his NFL debut.
Romeo Okwara was also activated, from IR in his case after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 4 last season. Julian Okwara has been moved to IR due to an elbow injury he suffered in Week 12, and interior offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher has been elevated from the practice squad.
But the headliner is Williams.
How much will Jameson Williams play against the Jaguars?
There’s still a small percentage chance, like less than one percent, that Williams is inactive for Sunday’s game despite being taken off the non-football injury list. He would not have been activated if he wasn’t going to suit up, barring a setback in pregame warmups, otherwise why take up an active roster spot?
Caution has been the word with the Lions on Williams as he has worked his way back from a torn ACL a year ago come early January. So he won’t be playing 50-60 snaps against the Jaguars on Sunday.
More likely, the Lions will deploy Williams in certain situations–red zone?, some third downs? long yardage?. If that adds up to much more than 20 snaps, it’d be surprising. But then again the Lions have tried to deploy gamesmanship with Williams’ status all week, so maybe he’s going to play a bunch out of nowhere.
In any case, the wait is over to see Williams make his NFL debut. Even if it’s limited action and a strict snap count on Sunday, the crowd might cause Ford Field to move off its foundation when he makes his first catch.