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Ex-Washington State running back James Williams strikes free agent deal with Lions

Washington State running back James Williams runs a drill during the NFL football scouting combine, Friday, March 1, 2019, in Indianapolis. (Darron Cummings / AP)

James Williams has agreed to a free agent deal with the Detroit Lions and the former Washington State running back could get his first carries in an NFL uniform when Detroit visits Cleveland for its preseason finale Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific.

Sticking on an NFL roster has been difficult for Williams since he left the Cougars one year early and went unselected in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Williams, the multi-purpose back who recorded 3,090 all-purpose yards in his time on the Palouse, signed a free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs shortly after the Draft ended but was waived by the club on June 13.

After a few NFL workouts, including one with the Green Bay Packers, Williams landed on his feet, signing with the Indianapolis Colts. His stint with Indy didn’t last longer than a day, though, and Williams was cut by the Colts on Aug. 22 without even playing a preseason game for the organization.

Williams posted on his Instagram account about a recent workout with the New England Patriots, but it was Detroit that decided to extend another free agent deal to the Burbank, California, native, who’s now trying to make an NFL roster for the third time in as many months.

The Lions, without much experience in the running backs room, could be an ideal fit for Williams. Aside from seventh-year player C.J. Anderson, there isn’t another player in the group with more thran two years of NFL experience.

There should be one familiar face in Detroit for Williams. Joe Dahl, a former WSU offensive lineman and University High graduate, is in his fourth season with the Lions. Dahl and Williams overlapped one year in Pullman (2015).