Don't let Matt Willis' appearance on "American Ninja Warrior" fool you. "That's just the name of the show. I'm not a ninja" Willis said. The Lions wide receiver competed on the show during the NFL lockout in 2011 with his brother-in-law Genai Kerr a two-time member of the men's Olympic water polo team. Willis didn't advance past the first round because he struggled with the wall at the end of the course but he said he wouldn't have continued if he had for fear of injury. Now Willis a former Broncos receiver has infiltrated the Lions’ special teams and offense and in the exhibition opener killed his competition for a roster spot. But Willis was incredibly modest Sunday when talking about his performance in a 26-17 exhibition win over the Jets. "I played all right on offense didn't play so well on special teams" he said. "Just in general didn't play well." Humility can be great sometimes but Willis undersold his performance. He had three catches for 51 yards including a 27-yard sideline grab in which he barely slid his knee inbounds and a 15-yard diving touchdown catch. But again Willis didn't boast because he's still in a tight battle for a job. "I don’t want to say it's business as usual but if the ball's in the air you go get it" he said. "It's two catches over two weeks of practice and one game. It's not going to be a deciding factor." The Lions signed Willis 29 in June hoping he could compete for a wide receiver spot behind Calvin Johnson Nate Burleson and Ryan Broyles as well as add experience to the special teams group. When Willis' agent told him he wouldn't have to work out he gladly packed a bag left his training in Los Angeles and started practicing. And while Willis has impressed so far this offseason his humility was on display again when asked if he could compare his skills to the other Lions receivers fighting for those jobs.
Receiver Matt Willis takes big step to securing Lions roster spot
Detroit News | Aug 12