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Detroit Lions' Jameson Williams, Aidan Hutchinson ready to 'change the culture'

Aidan Hutchinson is all too familiar with the woes of the Detroit Lions — after all, he has never lived more than 45 minutes from Allen Park.

Jameson Williams has followed football since childhood, so he too knows the Lions have rarely been a playoff contender, but he said he's not all that familiar with the Lions beyond that.

As far as either of them are concerned, though, that's in the past.

"I'm just looking forward to getting going, me and Aidan, to change the culture and turn things around in Detroit," Williams said. "I'm excited to get going, I'm excited to be here.

"I'm ready."

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, first round picks receiver Jamison Williams and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson pose for a picture with GM Brad Holmes during the press conference Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Detroit Lions practice facility in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, first round picks receiver Jamison Williams and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson pose for a picture with GM Brad Holmes during the press conference Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Detroit Lions practice facility in Allen Park.

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Hutchinson, who grew up in Plymouth and attended Dearborn Divine Child before heading to Michigan, was a childhood Lions fan.

"Not a ton of great memories, we went through an 0-16 season when I was growing up," Hutchinson said with a laugh. "But I've been to a couple Lions games before and the atmosphere is just great and when the Lions are winning ball games, it's like, 'happy wife, happy life,' like the fans are so into it.

"We got the right pieces coming in, I think the coaches are right so we can get this ball rolling."

The two were introduced late Friday afternoon at the team headquarters in Allen Park, with neither shy about expectations in their new roles. Both should contribute sooner than later, but the journeys from Friday's introductions to their first games in Honolulu Blue will likely look quite different.

For Hutchinson, the early steps of his transition have been seamless.

He said he was able to sleep most of the way on the plane from Las Vegas to Detroit, got flooded with texts from a number of players already on the team and joked that he's still not sure where he's going to live.

"It's been discussed that I may live in (my parents) basement," Hutchinson said. "But (being in a familiar city) will definitely make that transition easier."

Detroit Lions first round pick defensive end Aidan Hutchinson talks with reporters Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Allen Park practice facility.
Detroit Lions first round pick defensive end Aidan Hutchinson talks with reporters Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Allen Park practice facility.

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That transition, Hutchinson said, is all the more exciting as he moves into a system that he feels fits his game.

Hutchinson said one of his best pre-draft interviews came with the Lions, adding it was easy to talk football with the Lions staff. On Friday, he said the more he has gotten to know defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn the more he feels he can wreak havoc as a member of Detroit's front.

"I think the play style is relentless, it's nasty and that's what the whole coaching staff was brought here (to do) under coach Campbell," he said. "That's the mentality. I come in, I bring that same mentality and it's why I think I'm a perfect fit for this scheme and for that Detroit grit. I think I fit that mold."

Williams, meanwhile, isn't familiar with the city and hasn't been able to participate in football activities since he tore his left ACL in the College Football Playoff title game against Georgia on Jan. 10.

He wasn't able to participate in the NFL combine or Alabama's pro day. But he said Friday that had he been healthy, he would've put on a performance to remember, specifically in the 40-yard dash.

"I don't know what time, but it would've been faster than the fastest 40," he said. "Ever."

Williams said he's 13 weeks out from surgery and expects to be back by training camp, adding he's doing regular movements and that he doesn't have any mental blocks to clear — he said that only lasted for about a week after the injury.

And while he's not as familiar with the Lions' past, Williams sounded plenty familiar with his teammates on offense.

Detroit Lions first round pick receiver Jameson Williams talks with reporters Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Allen Park practice facility.
Detroit Lions first round pick receiver Jameson Williams talks with reporters Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Allen Park practice facility.

"I'm excited to join the offense, I feel like we can do pretty big things," he said. "We got Amon-Ra (St. Brown), DJ (Chark), in addition to the running back game. I just feel like we can do a lot of things."

He also is familiar with a member of the defense: Jeff Okudah, his teammate for a year at Ohio State. He said Okudah texted him good luck the morning of the draft, only to find out, less than 12 hours later, they would be reunited.

"Jeff was one of the guys at Ohio State, we talked a lot, he was a big brother for sure," Williams said. "We talked last night too, so that that was good."

It's the first time the Lions have had two picks within the top half of the first round, and just the second time (1976) in the common-draft era they've had two of the top 16. Williams led the NCAA in touchdowns of at least 30 yards (11) and at least 70 yards (4), while leading the SEC with 1,572 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns. His 79 catches ranked fifth in the conference.

Hutchinson, like Williams, was a consensus first team All-American; the U-M standout finished second in Heisman Trophy voting after setting a Michigan program record with 14 sacks.

The two never played each other but praised each other's game.

"Watching him on national TV, in the playoffs, in the championship, the guy is a stud," Hutchinson said of Williams. "I don't know where he's at (with the rehab) but hopefully he will get back to being healthy and get back to balling out."

"I like his game, I like how aggressive he is from what I watched," Williams reciprocated. "Before the draft yesterday, we actually were talking about where he'd get drafted, he said he didn't know, but we ended up on the same team, so that's good."

Detroit Lions first round picks receiver Jameson Williams and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson hold up their Lions' jerseys during the press conference Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Detroit Lions practice facility in Allen Park.
Detroit Lions first round picks receiver Jameson Williams and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson hold up their Lions' jerseys during the press conference Friday, April 29, 2022 at the Detroit Lions practice facility in Allen Park.

Hutchinson has long been a proponent of setting and writing down his goals. He wore what he calls his manifestations — goals he has journaled about for years — inside his lapel on draft night.

Williams isn't as deliberate with notating his hopes, but Friday he was clear about what he wants to get done. And soon.

"Flipping this program around, that's the main goal," Williams said. "Winning games, getting in the playoffs and having fun."

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions' Jameson Williams, Aidan Hutchinson pledge new culture