Trent Williams and the Pro Bowl seem to be a sure thing come mid-winter every NFL season. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound tackle is on his way this year as well, but he’s focused on bigger things come autumn in Washington.
Williams, a ninth year man out of Oklahoma, has been the anchor on the left side of the Redskins offensive line since they drafted him in 2010 with the fourth-overall selection. The seven-time Pro Bowler (tied for third in Redskins history) has led the way for four 1,000 yard rushers so far in his career, but this year was special.
With a season-ending injury suffered in the first preseason game to second-round pick Derrius Guice, the Redskins needed another back. They did just that by signing future Hall of Famer and fellow Oklahoma Sooner Adrian Peterson just a few days prior to their third preseason game.
Williams, who co-owns a private gym in Houston with Peterson, was elated to see No. 26 in the locker room.
““I’m super excited. I can’t even…” Williams paused upon Peterson’s arrival. “It’s a dream come true.”
Williams led the Redskins offensive line, which paved the way for Peterson to rush for over 1,000 yards in 2018, his first such season since 2015.
The season wasn’t easy, though, as Williams and many others on the Redskins O-line battled injuries throughout the year.
He missed three games due to a thumb injury that left his right hand severely immobilized, a tool that all offensive lineman need to block. When Williams returned faster than expected on Thanksgiving, he sported a thick tape wrap that looked like a medieval club on his right hand, allowing him to get back to action. Overcoming the ups and downs of every season is something Williams is all too familiar with thus far in his career.
“It’s not my first one, so I’m used to it,” Williams said. “But, we fought through it. This team has been through a lot, but it’s bittersweet. Obviously no one likes losing but when you look at a team who finished their season with 50 percent of the players on the roster they started with, and you look at a team with about 20 percent of the roster in the stadium for the first time the last week, it’s tough.
“Not to make excuses but you got to know that you’re behind the 8-ball. Injuries happen to everybody, but it just happened to us a little more often this year. But it gives you the confidence to know that at full strength we can compete with anybody.”
As the Redskins offensive line looks to spend the spring and summer getting back to full strength, head coach Jay Gruden is happy to know he has one of the best tackles in the league on his side of the line.
“He’s just a guy that anytime you have him at left tackle you feel pretty good about your situation there,” Gruden said. “He’s athletic, he’s big, he’s smart, he’s tough, he can do anything I want him to do. He can pull, he can run out on screens, he can pass protect, he can run block, he’s a great leader for the guys in the locker room. So, he’s the best. First pick of the draft, you wouldn’t hesitate taking a guy like that. He’s a great, great, great player."