If it were up to Trent Williams, he’d continue playing through these next four games. Knee pain be damned.
But even the veteran left tackle knows the decision isn’t his alone to make. And if the Washington Redskins find themselves out of playoff contention, the front office might make the call for him.
“At that point I would probably leave it up to the guys upstairs and see if they want me to continue to push through it, I’m going to continue to push through it,” Williams said after sitting out Wednesday’s practice. “If they tell me let’s go ahead and start this recovery process, then that’s what I’ll do. I work for them.
“It’s always my decision, but whatever they want me to do is what I would do. If I say no, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that, then they would respect it. But I’m an employee of the Washington Redskins so whatever they ask me to do, I’ll do.”
Essentially, Williams is playing on one good leg and has been holding off on season-ending knee surgery as long as possible. But he can’t foresee doing things any other way. The competitor in him won’t let his body rest. And his commitment to his teammates — and his quarterback, Kirk Cousins, in particular — won’t let him focus on anything else.
“I take pride in protecting Kirk,” Williams said. “He’s a good friend of mine. We’ve played together for a long time. And I know that when he’s standing upright he’s a really good quarterback. And I want to see him be successful. And if I can help him be successful, then that’s what I will do.
“I take a lot of pride in protecting Kirk. So, yeah, it weighs in [my decision].”
Williams’s gameday status has been a topic of conversation since Week 4.
His presence provides stability for an offensive line constantly in flux. His veteran savvy and skill provides Cousins peace of mind in the pocket. And with Redskins (5-7) set to face the resurgent Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) on Sunday at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., Williams’s 6-foot-5, 320-pound frame is sorely needed.
The Chargers boast two of the NFL’s best pass rushers: second-year stud Joey Bosa (11.5 sacks) and Melvin Ingram (8.5). Bosa, the third overall pick in 2016, ranks fifth in total sacks and second in forced fumbles (four). He and Ingram are tied for the team lead in quarterback hits (19.5).
“They’re great. Two of the best in the league right now on one team,” Williams said of the pair of edge rushers. “They’re very diverse, they line up all over the place, they’re on the same side a lot of the time. [No.] 54 [Ingram] walks around and you never know where he’s coming from. [No.] 99 [Bosa], he’s a stud. He’s continuing to grow into a household name, an elite pass rusher. And he’s made his mark on this game this season. … I mean, he’s outstanding. Two of the top [rushers] that we’ve faced so far this season.”
But it remains to be seen whether Williams will suit up Sunday.
“I don’t know,” the left tackle said, smiling. “It depends on what Coach [Jay Gruden] wants me to do.”