Jamaal Williams entered free agency wanting to return to the Lions. Then he got their offer.
"They been done with it, I could tell," Williams said Friday after signing a three-year, $12 million deal with the Saints. "The offer they gave me I feel like was very just disrespectful."
The Lions chose David Montgomery instead, signing the ex-Bears running back for three years and $18 million. He's two years younger than Williams.
Williams, who became the Lions' first 1,000-yard rusher in nearly a decade and set a franchise record with an NFL-high 17 rushing touchdowns last season, said the Lions' offer showed that they "didn’t want me to really be there."
"But it’s all love. I know my teammates and everybody there at the Detroit Lions has love for me and all that, but at the same time, it's just, we couldn’t come to terms on things. It’s just funny, that’s all. It’s funny to me because at the end of the day, I know the blessing are still coming just for me being who I am," Williams said.
A six-year vet who will be 28 next season, Williams is coming off the best season of his career. While the Lions didn't offer him the contract he felt like he deserved, he said the Saints "gave me the respect and showed me what they wanted from me, how much they were paying for it and how many years, and we came to a conclusion."
"It just showed, they wanted me. And if you want me to be here, I’m here for it," Williams said. "My loyalty is for anyone who believes in me to do my job, so I’m here in NOLA now."
Critics call Williams a short-yardage back and point out that the bulk of his touchdowns last season -- 13 of them, to be exact -- came from inside the two-yard line. Williams doesn't want to hear it. Actually, he does want to hear it. He said "the haters" give him fuel.
"And the first thing to hate on is, they’re all goal-line runs. Whoopdie-freakie-doo, I’m glad that y’all figured that out, great for you," Williams said. "I like that, though. I want y’all to think that I’m only a goal-line runner. So when I get in the open field and I start breaking ‘em, I don’t wanna hear nobody talking. ... Go back to calling me what you thought I was, because what I like to do is prove people wrong."
And according to Williams, "people think they know me so bad."
"They think they know my running style, they think they know how I’m gonna run the ball, but you can always change that up," he said. "That’s why I can’t wait for this season."
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