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Jamaal Williams’ 🔥🔥🔥 postgame interview drew praise from LeBron James, Ryan Smith and others

Williams dedicated a record-setting night to his great-grandfather while also defending his team against doubters

SHARE Jamaal Williams’ 🔥🔥🔥 postgame interview drew praise from LeBron James, Ryan Smith and others
Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams celebrates following an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers.

Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams celebrates following an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. The Lions won 20-16. Williams dedicated a record-setting night to his great-grandfather and silenced the Detroit Lions doubters in an impassioned interview following the Lions’ win.

Matt Ludtke, Associated Press

Jamaal Williams has never been one to shy away from being himself and showing emotion.

That made what happened Sunday night after the Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers 20-16 a little less of a surprise, perhaps, than it would have been otherwise. But it was still memorable, nonetheless. 

Williams, BYU’s all-time leading rusher, broke the Lions’ franchise record for single-season rushing touchdowns when he scored twice against the Packers, his former team.

That gave Williams an NFL-leading 17 rushing touchdowns this season, and broke Barry Sanders’ team-record 16 rushing touchdowns the Hall of Famer set in 1991.

Detroit’s win also eliminated the Packers from postseason eligibility, after Green Bay entered the day just needing a win to make the playoffs.

What did Jamaal Williams say in the postgame interview?

Williams, who clinched his first 1,000-yard rushing season as a pro in the win, joined teammate and Lions quarterback Jared Goff for a postgame interview on the NBC telecast, and his reaction to a record-setting night became a viral moment.

In particular, it was Williams’ ability to tear up while dedicating the record night to his late great-grandfather one moment, then becoming fiery the next moment as he defended his team against doubters that truly stood out.

It was an interview that captured plenty of attention, including from prominent sports celebrities like NBA superstar LeBron James and Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith.

On playing for his great-grandfather:

“I’m just grateful to do this for him. ... I’m just grateful for him to be in my life and grateful to play football and do this for him,” Williams said.

“There’s a lot of memories, a lot of emotions happening right now, but I’m grateful to be able to play this game for my great-grandfather. I know he’s looking down on me, I know I am making him proud.”

On silencing the doubters:

“We the Detroit Lions, we the Detroit Lions. Stop playing with us. I don’t watch TV, but I heard everybody already picked the Packers over us. Stop playing with us. That’s all I got to say, man. Don’t let these tears fool you, it’s all dawg around this mug.”

How did Twitter react?

The interview and Williams’ memorable night had social media buzzing about the sixth-year pro and the passion and enjoyment he brings on and off the field.

Why did the record-setting night mean to Jamaal Williams?

In his postgame press conference interview, Williams again shared what the record-breaking night meant for him and his family, adding that the death of his father and great-grandfather (Williams told the team after the game his great-grandfather died last week) has been weighing on his mind.

“This was a great day for me. Great night. Great game,” Williams said, per the team’s website. “The only thing I can really think about is family members that have passed away. I really just dedicated this game for them. It’s been a lot and my heart has been heavy for a little bit.”