Williams, a first-round draft pick who hasn’t been practicing because of an injury and therefore hasn’t needed to pick a jersey number, revealed on Instagram that he will wear No. 9.
That’s the number Stafford wore for 12 years in Detroit, and according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN Williams reached out to Stafford to make sure he wouldn’t object. Stafford told him to go ahead.
Woodyard was under no obligation to ask permission; the number isn’t retired and Stafford surely realized when he asked to be traded that at some point, someone else would come along and wear the number. But Williams showed respect to a veteran player who had accomplished a lot in Detroit by checking with him first.
Williams is still recovering after he suffered a torn ACL while playing for Alabama in the College Football National Championship Game. It is unknown when he will be cleared to play.