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O'HARA: Williams bringing energy & production to Lions

Jamaal Williams handled his first press conference as the Detroit Lions' newest running back the way people who knew him in Green Bay would have expected.

Williams was full of energy, bantering with media about one member's hair ("Silver Fox" he said), joking about another's mustache to start the Zoom session and remarking on another's unusual last name.

Williams also made it clear that he did not sign with the Lions as a free agent just to lighten the mood in the locker room.

He's here to work and bring to the Lions the consistency and production he gave the Packers in a backup role.

"I'm just ready to bring in a workload," Williams said. "If you give me the ball more, if you let me go to work, good things happen. I'm a real workhorse.

"During the whole game, I get better and better. I look for how defenses are working. Are they mentally breaking?

"I go for the whole game. That's what you're going to get from me. I'm not going to take any plays off. I enjoy every minute of it.

"I'm going to make my team better."

Williams brings depth, experience and relative youth to the Lions' running back position. He joins D’Andre Swift, who showed promise as a rookie in 2020, and Kerryon Johnson, a 2018 second-round draft pick whose career development has been slowed by injuries.

Williams, who turns 26 on April 3, was drafted by the Packers in the fourth round out of Brigham Young in 2017.

He was remarkably consistent in his four seasons in Green Bay, matching durability and reliability with production.

He missed only four games because of injuries, playing 60 regular-season games with 20 starts and four playoff games with one start.

He rushed for 1,985 yards, with individual season totals of 556, 464, 460 and 505 from 2017 through 2020 and an average of 4.0 yards per carry with 10 TDs.

He also had 122 receptions and eight TDs, with an average of 7.9 yards per catch.

Williams never had a fumble with 622 total touches -- 500 carries and 122 receptions.

Williams enjoyed his stay in Green Bay, which is understandable considering the Packers are consistent playoff contenders. He was disappointed that the Packers let him become a free agent.

"Of course," Williams said. "I was all in with Green Bay. That's how you're supposed to be when you're on a team. I wanted to stay there."

Williams is eager to get to work with his new teammates. That includes quarterback Jared Goff, who was acquired in a trade that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams.

"I can't wait to work with him," Williams said. "He's a good quarterback. I'm letting him know he's got people behind him who believe in him.

"I feel like coming in I can help out the (running back) room. I'm the type of person who believes in positive competition. We can all be competitive. We can make each other better.

"We can do it in a positive way. When you have that energy ... it makes everybody else want to join in and get with the program."

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