Notebook: Why Williams was the odd man out at RB; No love lost between Bears and Lions

Posted Oct 18, 2012

It made sense for the Lions to keep Smith and not Williams. If Leshoure were to get injured, Smith can fill his role.

When the Lions signed cornerback Alphonso Smith Thursday morning, they had to make room for him by releasing running back Keiland Williams.

Some people immediately wondered why it was Williams who was released and not Kevin Smith, who has seen his role dramatically decrease since starter Mikel Leshoure came off suspension and since Joique Bell’s emergence the last few weeks.

Williams had a role on special teams and carried the ball once in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s victory in Philadelphia.

Smith was inactive Sunday and hasn’t carried the football since starting in San Francisco Week 2.

But it made sense for the Lions to keep Smith and not Williams. If Leshoure were to get injured, Smith can fill his role. He has a similar all-around type of game like Leshoure.

Williams was not a vested veteran, which means his contract was not guaranteed, and his role can be filled by Bell. Like Williams, Bell is a bigger back and a power runner. Bell's carved out a nice role for himself as both a powerful runner and a receiver and has been used a lot late in games.

Leshoure has proven he can carry the load as the lead back, but if anything were to happen to him, Smith could step in and fill a similar role.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said Thursday there will be no love lost between the Lions and Bears in Chicago Monday night in a key NFC North rivalry matchup.

“I don’t think our team or their team enjoys the other,” Stafford admitted. “But it’s a rivalry game. That’s the way it is. You play a division game, you play an opponent long enough, you get to know them well enough. Shoot, I feel like I know everybody on their team. That’s the fun part about the game is playing teams in your division.”

Stafford was involved in some extracurricular activities last year in Chicago in a loss. After throwing his fourth interception of the game, he took down Bears cornerback D.J. Moore by the helmet and threw him to the ground. Moore got up and delivered a big hit to a kneeling Stafford right in front of the Lions bench.

An on-field skirmish ensued and Moore was ejected for his role in the melee. Both he and Stafford were fined. In all, six players were fined for a total of $62,500 in the game.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to be in a division when you’re playing a division opponent. There shouldn’t be any love lost,” said Bears head coach Lovie Smith in a conference call. “You shouldn’t be sending each other Christmas cards and we don’t. And this is a strong division, also. So that’s just a part of it. We’re expecting a good, hard-fought game and we can’t wait.”

Stafford was asked Thursday if he sent a Christmas card to Moore last year.

“No. I lost his address,” he said with a smile and a wink.

The NFL fined Lions receiver Nate Burleson $10,000 for his touchdown celebration against the Eagles on Sunday, according to reports.

Burleson celebrated a 17-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that brought the Lions to within a field goal of the lead, by flapping his arms like an eagle and then pretending to shoot it out of the air.

He was fined for a violent act against a team but told the Free Press was planning to appeal the fine.