Whether it’s the offseason workouts they do in Houston every year, or simply what he can verify from his freshman college days of blocking, Trent Williams has definitely put in a good word for former Oklahoma teammate Adrian Peterson.
This was affirmed by head coach Jay Gruden, who admits that among other factors, Williams’ voice certainly helped the team in pulling the trigger to sign the 2012 league MVP on Monday.
"He’s an Oklahoma, loyal, yeah whatever. If it was Trent’s way, we would have all Oklahoma Sooners and we’d be 0-16 every year,” Gruden said laughing. “No, I’m just kidding! Trent, it was important since he knows him so well. We do listen to Trent quite a bit.”
“I’m super excited,” Williams said Tuesday. “I can’t even…it’s a dream come true. Obviously we’ve played together before, but his body of work and what he’s done speaks for itself. Guys are always going to be eager to play with him, and him being like a brother to me just enhances that.”
The Redskins have endured a series of injuries at the running back position lately, and with Peterson previously unsigned, his workout for the organization was due diligence. When asked about how he ended up signing with the Redskins, Peterson kept it brief.
“I was in Oklahoma Sunday and got up early to head back home to Houston,” he said. “I turned my phone back on and received a lot of texts from my agent. He was like, ‘hey the Redskins want to bring you in,’ you know, so that’s just pretty much how it happened.”
While his agent made initial contact with the team, perhaps his biggest advocate throughout the entire offseason process was Williams.
“Adrian is one of the most competitive people I know outside of myself,” Williams said. “So, I know that he not being able to work in the capacity that he’s used to working in these last couple of years, hungry is an understatement he’s probably starving right now – starving to compete. I just can’t wait to suit up with him and see that look in his eyes the first time we walk on that field.”
It’s one thing to analyze the move from the outside looking in, but Tuesday, Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams explained why the move made so much sense from an administrative perspective.
"I think the average guy that has accomplished what Adrian has accomplished probably would feel like, ‘I don't have to work out. You sign me,’” Williams said. “But, he didn't come in here with that attitude. I think it shows you the person he is, that he has humility and he realized he wanted to play. He realized he is in a good situation as far as what we have here, the pieces to go with and he was willing to do whatever it takes to show us that he deserves an opportunity to be on this football team."
While Peterson certainly has support from the eight-year consecutive team captain, it’s almost as if he still has an obligation to live up to his own name. After an injury-riddled season where he played for two different franchises, it’s clear he’s been ready to turn the tide this season.
Williams would agree, especially after watching him perform at their Houston-based training facility over the summer.
“Our vision was to have everything under one roof,” Peterson said. “We have a hill outside so I do a lot of hill work and it’s hot in Texas, clearly. We have a sand volleyball [pit] so I am able to get out there and do different agilities in the sand as well. We have yoga. We have turf. We have boxing. I am able to do a lot of stuff to keep my body in shape and I am more conscious – I’ve never really been on a diet but I’m more so aware and conscious of what I put into my body and try to eat health and good genes as well."
“I don’t know how it’s made him better, but he’s made me a lot better,” Williams said. “Just giving me the blueprint on what it takes to continue to cultivate the talent that you have inside of you, mix that with hard work. I’ve learned so much from him in that aspect, and it plays a huge part of why I’m here today.”
Williams, who played right guard as a freshman at Oklahoma when Peterson was erupting during his junior year, smiled throughout his interview. Peterson will have two preseason games to show the team what he can provide, but Williams seems confident in his teammate once more.
“He has to be accounted for, and I think with the front that we have offensively, I’m more than confident that we’re going to be able to open up holes for him, and be able to show people how good he is,” Williams said. “I mean, people know how good he is – but how good he is right now to this day. I think people are starting to write him off after two injury plagued seasons but like I said, I spent I lot of time with him in the summer, and I know exactly what he’s capable of, how well he moves, and I’m telling you right now he hasn’t lost a step.”