Roy Williams Defends His Toughness

Lions wide receiver Roy Williams says he could have played much more against the Vikings on Sunday and doesn't like the perception that he soft when it comes to injuries.

Roy Williams said he was ready to give the Lions 20-30 plays on an injured left leg Sunday at Minnesota; instead, he got three plays.

And the Lions second-year wide receiver doesn't like being portrayed as an insubordinate culprit in the 27-14 loss to the Vikings.

"Y'all kind of make me feel like a punk, man," Williams told reporters Monday. "I ain't no punk, man. I go out there and play football. Last year I went out there on an (injured) ankle. This year I'm coming over a quad injury. It's almost there to where I can play. Hopefully, I can get out there and play sixty-some plays. But, if I can play 20, I can play 20. I think I can help this team with 20 plays. Even though Scottie Vines is doing a great job, I still think I can go out there and do 20-30 plays."

Williams, who had missed three full games with a grade 3 (almost torn) quadriceps injury, was being quizzed by members of the media after stories surfaced that he had refused to go into the Minnesota game after taking just three plays.

After a lengthy pre-game workout, Williams told coach Steve Mariucci and receivers coach Fred Graves he could help out on a part-time basis but did not feel good enough to play every down.

But Williams didn't get any plays early in the game, and when rookie wide receiver Mike Williams was forced to leave the game briefly because of an ankle injury, Mariucci called the rest of his injury-riddled receiving corps together.

"When Mike got hurt, he got all the receivers together on the side," Williams said. "He said, ‘you play this, you play this; Roy, can you play this?'"

Williams said he responded: "I can't play it as many times as you want me to play it."

After getting into the game for three plays, Williams said he continued to keep himself ready, but he was not sent back into the game.

"I just asked my wide receivers coach (Fred Graves) about the third quarter — the second series in the third quarter — I said, ‘Am I going to play any?' " Williams said. "He said ‘probably not'. I said, ‘Well, hell, you all could have told me to put my clothes on at halftime.'"

Williams said he did not inquire with either Graves or Mariucci for a reason he was not used again in the game, but said they might have decided to save him once the game got out of hand with the Vikings 24-0 lead late in the first half.

He staunchly denied that he refused to play when the Lions faced an important fourth-down situation late in the game, or at any other time in the game.

"I didn't say ‘take me out'," he said. "I'd never say ‘take me out.'"


  • The Lions season is quickly disintegrating in a flurry of injuries, disappointing losses and a drug suspension to wide receiver Charles Rogers.

    But team president Matt Millen, who has been silent through the team's recent slide, said he takes full responsibility for the team's 3-5 record.

    "I'm responsible for this mess," Millen told the Detroit Free Press. "Me. Not Steve (Mariucci). Me. It's my fault. I've got to figure it out."

    Although fans and media have become increasingly critical of Mariucci's coaching approach, Millen said he has not lost faith in his coach.

    "But we have a lot of problems," he said.

  • As much as the Lions need their best receivers back in the lineup, coach Steve Mariucci apparently won't bring Charles Rogers back until he applies himself more seriously on the practice field; possibly next Sunday against Arizona.

    "Hopefully, Charles Rogers will be able to have a better week of practice and contribute," Mariucci said Monday. "But again, we're going to have to work through the week and see where it takes us."

    Rogers was eligible to return to action Sunday after sitting out four games for violating the NFL's illegal substance policy, but the team did not put him on the active roster because of the way he worked last week.

    "He's not the same Charles that I knew," said Lions president Matt Millen. "He wasn't into practice this week. You could see that. I'm disappointed. I don't know. I've got to find out what's wrong. He's too talented to practice like that."

    Millen rejected a suggestion that Rogers needed a kick in the seat of his pants to get him started.

    "If you need a kick in the rear end from anybody to play in this league, then you've got a problem," Millen said.

  • Quarterback Jeff Garcia, who was promoted to starter status for two games before suffering injuries that took him out of the lineup, apparently has no new damage to the left leg that was broken earlier in the season.

    "Jeff Garcia had another x-ray," coach Steve Mariucci said. "He's just got to work through the pain. The x-ray doesn't show any new damage or any of that sort of thing. It's just a matter of (if) can he tolerate the pain and discomfort in his leg and when can he begin practicing."

    Until Garcia is ready to play and compete again for the job, four-year starter Joey Harrington is expected to get most of the practice reps with the first offense.

    "Before (Garcia) plays again, he's got to feel good." Mariucci said. "He's got to freshen up and, as you know, he needs his mobility to play well. So that pain in his leg is going to be somewhat of a determining factor.

    "How can he function? How can he run around and move, protect himself, make plays on the run? All those sort of things."

  • RB Kevin Jones, who left the Minnesota game after just seven carries for 15 yards, has a triceps strain as well as a bruised nerve in his arm. He had ultrasound examinations on both arms Monday and it is uncertain whether he will be able to practice and play this week.

  • WR Roy Williams said he was approximately 70 percent recovered from the strained left quadriceps muscle when he got three plays Sunday at Minnesota. Williams said he felt he could have played 20-30 plays against the Vikings and is hopeful to be more fully recovered for the game coming up against Arizona next Sunday.

  • QB Jeff Garcia has no new injuries, but might not be ready to return to practice by Wednesday when the Lions begin preparation for their game Sunday against Arizona. Garcia missed the first five games with a broken fibula, and played two games but had so much soreness in the leg that he couldn't play in the Minnesota loss.

  • DT Shaun Rogers has missed the Lions' last two games with a knee injury, but it appears he might be able to practice this week, making it possible he could play next Sunday against Arizona in a game at Ford Field.

  • WR Scottie Vines, who wasn't even on the Lions' roster for the first two games of the season, is tied with RB Shawn Bryson for the most receptions. Vines has caught 21 passes for 227 yards. All except two of the receptions have been in the past three games.

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