The news of Trent Williams’ four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy disappointed many Redskins fans and followers, especially considering the team will face arguably its most difficult stretch of the season.
Williams was suspended four games in 2011 for a similar infraction along with tight end Fred Davis. Davis has been out of the league since 2013 while Williams turned his career (and life) around, becoming a four-time Pro Bowler and team leader, even gathering his linemates together for an offseason workout complete with “Hogs 2.0” shirts.
Count Redskins legend Joe Theismann among those who aren’t happy. Given recent events, Theismann told 106.7 The Fan Friday that any goodwill the 28-year-old has built up over the last five seasons shouldn’t be enough for him to retain his captaincy, a role Williams has held since 2011.
“I think that the right thing to do for Trent Williams is to take that ‘C’ off his jersey because he doesn’t deserve it,” the former quarterback said.
“There’s a responsibility that goes with that letter on your jersey and he has not lived up to that responsibility,” Theismann told The Fan’s Chad Dukes and Chris Russell. “He has let the organization, the fans and his teammates down in a big way. You can’t come back from a four-game suspension, like he will, and still be considered a captain of a football team. I just think that would be very hypocritical.”
Theismann didn’t hold back when talking about the likely reception Williams will receive when he returns to the team in early December.
“You know, to be honest with you, in this day and age, they’ll probably go, ‘Oh, great. Trent’s back.’ I think that’s a bunch of baloney. I don’t think you can overstate the disappointment of what he has done. And, how well will we do? I think [backup tackle] Ty [Nsekhe], he knows what responsibility he has as a left tackle, and [offensive line coach] Bill [Callahan] will coach him up and he’ll be ready to go.”
Theismann went as far to say that Nsekhe shouldn’t have to relinquish the left tackle role back to Williams is he performs well enough over the next quarter of the season.
“If Ty is playing well when Trent’s suspension is over, maybe he doesn’t get his job back,” Theismann said. “I don’t care what he was. I don’t care about the Pro Bowl monikers. If the kid’s playing well and the line’s playing well, you opened the door. It isn’t like a coach made a decision to sit you down, you did it to yourself. By the way. Sixty-six million dollars should require you to be smarter than that.”
“They’re paying you like a leader,” Dukes said, referencing Williams’ five-year, $66 million contract extension signed in August 2015. “I think it’s a valid criticism, despite how maybe people don’t want to hear that, but a level of personal responsibility would seem to me to be apropos considering the investment the organization made in him.”
“Considering the fact that you’ve already erred once,” Theismann said regarding Williams’s 2011 ban. “This isn’t like it’s the first time. I’m probably more disappointed in Trent and the situation he got himself in than I have been in a lot of players that I’ve seen have troubles, and that’s because, of all the things that you hear, and all the things that he said, and all the, quote, unquote, ‘leadership role’ that he took the responsibility on of, and you do this? I mean, really?”
“Nobody in the organization is gonna say it but I’m not in the organization. That’s the way I feel, like I said, is you’re letting down a whole bunch of guys, guys that counted on you, guys that believed in you, guys that bought that . . . whatever you were saying. You sold them a bill of goods. And if Trent was sitting in front of me, I would tell him the same exact thing. I am disappointed. And every fan should be.”