Lions rookie Jameson Williams switches to No. 9 jersey after getting Matthew Stafford’s blessing

Dressed to the nines.

Lions rookie Jameson Williams has always had an eye for single digits. To get it, he had to meet a familiar face…kinda.

Williams announced his intention to wear the No. 9 on his jersey on his Instagram account on Tuesday. According to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, Williams even asked for Matthew Stafford’s blessing to rock the number.

For a time, it seemed like the wiry 21-year-old, who was the 12th pick in this year’s NFL draft, would carry the No. 18 pick. It should be a way to commemorate another Detroit legend: Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson. By flipping Johnson’s No. 81, Williams seemed poised to pay homage to Megatron.

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But his desire for a single-digit jersey number was clear. And with No. 9 open, Williams just had to grab it.

According to Woodyard, Williams gave Stafford a courtesy text to let him know he was interested in wearing the number. Stafford was reportedly all for it and put Williams in motion to make the move.

Stafford had a fantastic 12-year stint with the Lions, laying down smashing stat lines en route to establishing himself as the best signal caller in franchise history. Detroit didn’t give out his number 9 to anyone after joining the Rams last season, but Williams clearly felt it was the right move to go head-to-head with the man who made him an icon.

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There is no timeline yet when fans will be able to see Williams back on the gridiron. He might have been the first WR off the draft board if he hadn’t torn his cruciate ligament in the loss of Alabama’s National Championship Game to Georgia. The Detroit coaching staff, while seduced by his speed, size and catching ability, want to see him stabilize his leg and improve his strength by adjusting the pads.

“I mean, absolutely – we want to get him out of there as soon as possible, and it’s crucial,” said Lions coach Dan Campbell, “it’s crucial, but not until he builds his strength. He needs a lot of strength development in that body, his lower extremities — legs, knees, everything… So until he’s able to stabilize himself and really get some strength that we’re feeling good about where he can protect himself… protect that knee and he can be competitive, and at a high level, we’re not going to put him out there.”

But when Williams finally hits the turf, he’ll be rocking that sweet, sweet No. 9. And he’ll hope to make as big a wave as Stafford. This time with more postseason appearances…

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