IRVING, Texas -- Roy Williams headed home to Texas on Tuesday in the NFL's biggest trade before the deadline, giving the struggling Dallas Cowboys another proven receiver opposite Terrell Owens.
The winless Detroit Lions traded their unhappy 2004 first-round pick and one-time Pro Bowler for three draft picks, from the first, third and sixth round in 2009. Detroit also gave the Cowboys a seventh-rounder next year.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he struck the deal two minutes before the NFL trade deadline.
"I'm more happy to be a Dallas Cowboy than when I got my first bike," said Williams, an Odessa native who starred at the University of Texas.
Williams' best season was 2006, when he went to the Pro Bowl after catching 82 passes for 1,310 yards and seven touchdowns. He has 17 catches for 232 yards and a score this season, and has 262 career catches for 3,884 yards and 29 TDs.
"We felt like right now that was the best thing for us to do as a football team. It gives us something for the future. You're looking at the possibility of having five of the first hundred (2009) picks," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. "It was a pragmatic business decision."
Soon after announcing the deal, the Cowboys said that they had given Williams a five-year extension on his contract that was set to expire after this season.
The Cowboys acquired their new star hours after learning they lost another in cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, whom NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Tuesday for at least four games.
Goodell will determine the full length of the suspension following the Cowboys' game in Washington on Nov. 16. Jones was in repeated legal trouble while with the Tennessee Titans and was involved in an alcohol-related scuffle Oct. 7 with one of his bodyguards at a private party in Dallas.
Jerry Jones, who has never shied from adding players with checkered pasts to the Cowboys locker room, made a point Tuesday to mention Williams' "outstanding character, no matter who you talk to."
Williams said the first phone call he received after the trade was from Owens, who has complained recently about not getting enough catches in an offense that lost quarterback Tony Romo this week for perhaps a month with a broken finger in his throwing hand.
Jerry Jones said Owens was "elated and beside himself" upon hearing the trade. Williams said he and T.O. talked about winning.
"We got two guys out there that can really run, they're big, but as you know, both of them can really make spectacular catches," Jones said.
Williams is expected to begin practicing with the Cowboys on Wednesday, and play in their game Sunday at St. Louis.
Williams will line up opposite Owens in an offense that has not had a clear No. 2 receiver since waiving veteran Terry Glenn this summer. Tight end Jason Witten leads the Cowboys with 39 catches and two touchdowns after six games. Owens has 23 catches and 5 TDs.
The Cowboys have filled the gap with Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin. Now they will have two of the NFL's biggest, most physical receivers -- both worthy of double coverage.
After the trade, Williams talked as if he had found a new mentor in Owens, whom he made clear was "the No. 1 guy."
"I've never had an older wide receiver to show me the way," Williams said.
Jerry Jones said Tuesday he'd been trying to pry Williams from Detroit for two years.
The addition figures to further heighten Super Bowl expectations for the Cowboys (4-2), who are only a game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East but have dropped two of their last three games.
Sunday's overtime loss to Arizona was particularly costly for Dallas. Romo broke his pinky finger and rookie running back Felix Jones sprained a hamstring to end a trying week that began with controversy over Adam Jones' run-in with police.
Williams will probably catch his first passes in Dallas from Brad Johnson, the 40-year-old backup whose last start was in 2006 for Minnesota.
The 26-year-old Williams said it was tough to leave Detroit but said he was ready "to see what the playoffs feel like." Detroit was 21-48 since Williams arrived as a rookie and never made the postseason.
"Going from 0-5 to 4-2, you can't ask for anything better than that," Williams said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press