Wide receiver Tyrell Williams felt an instant connection with the Detroit Lions coaching staff during the team's push to sign him in free agency, and that is one of the reasons he decided to sign with Detroit in free agency this offseason.
"Just knowing that familiarity with coach (Anthony) Lynn and talking to coach (Dan) Campbell and all those guys they got me excited and fired up and they believed in me too and I believe in them," Williams said in a Zoom call Monday.
"It just seemed like a great fit. I'm just excited to get going and be around those guys and a whole coaching staff that's pretty much former players is a big reason why I wanted to come here."
Williams, 29, missed the 2020 season for the Las Vegas Raiders with a torn labrum, but said he's back to about 95 percent healthy five months out of surgery. He's running routes and catching balls, and will be good to go for offseason training.
Williams played two seasons for Lynn, Detroit's new offensive coordinator, when Lynn was the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. Williams caught 84 passes for 1,381 yards and nine touchdowns in two seasons under Lynn. He has ideal size at 6-foot-4 and 204 pounds, and has been an efficient deep threat throughout his career, averaging 16.1 yards per catch.
View photos of new Lions wide receiver Tyrell Williams.
"It was awesome being around him for the two years I was with the Chargers and so that was a big one, familiarity with him and just knowing how he likes to run an offense," Williams said of reconnecting with Lynn in Detroit. "I'm excited to be around him again and keep that relationship going."
Since entering the league in 2015, Williams' four touchdown receptions of 75-plus yards are tied for the most in the NFL. Among all NFL players with at least 175 receptions over that span, Williams' 16.1-yard average in the third highest in the league.
Williams also liked that the Lions plan to utilize his abilities all over the field, not just as a vertical threat.
"I love being able to stretch the field and (be) that deep-threat guy, but one of the big reasons I wanted to come here too, though, is they see me as being a guy that can run the whole route tree," Williams said.
"The intermediate stuff, the crossing routes and all that. That was a big reason why I wanted to come here. I love the deep route, too. I love catching those 70-yard touchdowns and 50-yard touchdowns. Being able to do both is going to be awesome."
Williams had a career-best 69 catches for 1,059 yards in 2016 with seven touchdowns. He could play a significant role on offense for the Lions this fall.
Quintez Cephus is the only other receiver currently under contract who caught a pass in 2020, so that room is definitely going through a retool with more additions expected to be made through free agency and the draft.