DETROIT — Although there was initial optimism that former Alabama All-American wide receiver Jameson Williams might be available in time for training camp, head coach Dan Campbell doesn't anticipate that happening as Williams continues to heal from his ACL injury.
"I don't see him being ready for training camp. I don't see that," Campbell said. "I'm very hopeful, but I don't see it. We're going to do this thing the right way and when he's ready, he'll be ready. But, no, I don't feel like you're going to see him out there Day 1."
The Lions are monitoring their No. 12 pick closely and don't want to rush his progress.
Williams has been spotted around the practice facility for rookie and mandatory minicamps, but he has only watched from the sideline -- while keeping a football in his hands -- in anticipation of his return.
"We'll have a plan for him moving forward," Campbell said. "He's going to be around here with us and the short period of time, at which he does go home, we know where he's going to be and who those people are. So, we're going to have a plan for him."
Williams is expected to be a big part of the team's future, which is why the front office traded up 20 spots to land him in the first round. The Alabama player tore his left ACL in January during the national championship game, but Detroit has maintained faith in his ability.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff is among those in the organization that are highly anticipating his return while also trying to keep him engaged with the team this offseason. As a young player, Goff understands the value in staying involved.
"Very excited. He's a special talent and I just keep [saying] like 'get him back, get him back,'" Goff said. "And, I know they're going to make sure he's as healthy as possible, but selfishly, I want him back as soon as possible, but he's staying engaged. He's got the script in his hand, he's seeing the plays, he's doing a good job. Obviously, he's a great talent, but a great part of our team so far as well and I expect him to grow into his role nicely."
As Goff watched Detroit move up to land him, he called the move a "great" one. Goff also admitted to watching his highlight tape on draft night and said his ability to make people miss is what jumps off the screen and his speed.
"I just think doing my best to keep him involved and make sure he feels like he's a part of what we're doing," Goff said. "And I'm not the only one, coaches are doing that and trainers and everybody, but I think that's what happens sometimes when these guys have these long rehabs and you can feel like you're not quite a part of it and I've had long rehabs in the offseason. So, just making sure he feels love and a part of what we're doing and is going to be a big part of what we're doing obviously, hopefully sooner than later."