Jameson Williams said he isn't sure exactly when, where or how he broke the NFL's gambling policy and "wasn't aware of (the rule) that caught me." When he found out last month that he'd been suspended for the first six games of this season, Williams was devastated.
"I was sick, I was hurt because I ain't knew things like this was coming," he said Thursday after the Lions' third practice of OTA's. "Took me some time and just thought about the better days moving forward. It's not my last day living."
Nor is it his last day playing. Williams, 22, will be with the Lions throughout the offseason program and training camp and hopes to hit the ground running when he returns in Week 7. In the interim, he'll be barred from team facilities.
"The suspension, it pretty much is what it is," Williams said. "I broke a policy."
The policy states that gambling is illegal for NFL players/employees anywhere on NFL grounds, which can range from a locker room to a team hotel. It also states that betting on the NFL in any capacity is forbidden. Williams' agency released a statement in the wake of his suspension that said he bet on non-NFL games and that his violation was "due to a technical rule regarding the actual location in which the online bet was placed."
On Thursday, Williams didn't have any further answers himself.
Asked where he was when he broke the policy, he said, "I'm not sure on any of those things. It just came up on me." Asked what sport he bet on, he said, "I'm not sure. That was a while ago."
Asked if his uncertainty on the details suggests he was gambling frequently, Williams said, "Nah, no frequent gambling. I'm not a gambler. I'm a football player."
After his suspension was handed out, Williams said he learned to "just make the right decisions" moving forward. Other decisions of his also came into question this offseason, notably his activity on social media. Williams caused a stir when he liked a Tweet suggesting the Lions should trade for Lamar Jackson, which some perceived as a slight toward Jared Goff.
"It wasn't no shots at Jared Goff. I love Goff," said Williams. "We out here, we got a perfect relationship. It's just a liked tweet. Nothing went down in our relationship. We still have a tight relationship. Nothing's really happened. It's social media. It's Twitter."
Pressed on it, Williams said, "You probably liked something on Twitter that people had questions about. I'm not really sure why people question me or anything like that. I'm out here with Jared Goff, not Lamar Jackson. I just think (Jackson's) a real good player."
Asked if he needs to change his social media presence, Williams said, "I live a regular lifestyle. I wouldn't say a very special lifestyle. I'm not the only person in the NFL who posts on Instagram or things like that. I would just say that's just me. I wouldn't change anything, to answer your question."
For now, Williams is just happy to be back on the field and running routes. A year ago at this time, as he pointed out, he was "walking around with a football in my hands" as he recovered from a torn ACL. The 12th overall pick wouldn't make his debut until Week 13, then had more drops than catches in six games.
When Williams is eligible to return this season, he will have missed 17 of his first 23 games in Detroit, with one career catch to his name.
"I feel like I've got to prove a lot to myself, before I can prove anything to anyone else," he said. "I've got goals I've set. I just want to knock off my goal list, get on the field, things like that. Hopefully once those things come, fans will be pleased with how I play football, what I do, things like that."
Which puts a premium on the reps Williams has this summer.
"I'm just trying to get better every day because, at some point, I can't be with the team," he said. "I'm just using all this time to perfect every little thing me and the QB, me and the team, me and the offense need. That's the main thing right now, just focusing on all that before I get my time away and then come back with the team."
And when he does come back, Williams said all he wants to do is win.
"We gotta make the playoffs, that's No. 1 goal," he said. "Gotta make the playoffs, go deep in the playoffs, hopefully win the Super Bowl, things like that. I just want to win games with my team."
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