Trent Williams’s locker still sits, where it has for years, in the far back corner of the Washington Redskins’ locker room. Aside from a pair of giant, unopened boxes, the locker probably looks much as it did the day after last season ended. Its clothes rack is filled with T-shirts, jerseys and even a few dress shirts. A bottom drawer appears to be filled with shoes.
Across Williams’s chair rests a huge burgundy equipment bag. The bag is so big that it spills over into the lockers of the two tackles signed in training camp to help replace Williams — Donald Penn and Corey Robinson — forcing them to reach around the bag to grab their shoes.
As Williams’s preseason holdout nears the conclusion of its third week, rumors and media speculation continue to circulate about whether Washington will trade its star left tackle, who is said to no longer wish to remain with the team. One high-ranking NFL team decision-maker, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss another team’s player, estimated the Redskins might be able to fetch a second-round draft pick for Williams.
But the Redskins, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, are not interested in trading Williams. The team continues to wait it out, hoping he will return.
The uncertainty dangled over Washington’s first home practice in Ashburn on Tuesday. Penn and second-year player Geron Christian alternated at left tackle, much the way they did during the team’s training camp practices in Richmond.
After practice, running back Adrian Peterson — a good friend and training partner of Williams’s — broke his camp-long media silence by saying he hasn’t talked to Williams in three weeks and is unsure when, or if, Williams will come back.
“I shot my shot,” Peterson said of his previous efforts to convince Williams to return to the team.
“I know how Trent is, so I just left it alone,” Peterson added. “After we talked that first time about it, I wasn't going to be the guy that was going to pester him or anything like that. I don't know. To be honest with you, I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't come back, and if he did, I wouldn't be surprised. That's honestly where I sit.”
Williams is said to no longer trust the organization and its medical staff over several issues, including the Redskins’ handling of a benign tumor on his head this past offseason. Associates of Williams have said he does not want to play for the team again, and he asked the Redskins to trade him or pay him more — requests the team declined.
Peterson said he “only had one conversation” with Williams about his holdout and realized that coming back to Washington would be “a decision [Williams] had to make on his own.”
In the meantime, Peterson added, the impact of his absence has been felt on the field.
“Trent is the best left tackle in the league, hands down,” Peterson said. “He’s the most athletic left tackle in the NFL. And to not have him on the left side, it hurts. When you’re missing the best player on the team, you’re going to feel the effect of that. It’s different for our quarterbacks to sit back there and not know for certain that their back side is protected. When Trent is back there, you know that your back side is protected. It just brings confidence for the quarterbacks and for the running backs, too, within the run game.”
On Monday, former Redskins safety Su’a Cravens referenced Williams in a long Twitter thread in which he said the organization accused him of inventing an injury and denied him insurance while he recovered from a concussion. Cravens, a 2016 second-round draft pick who retired for a time in 2017 and was eventually traded in March 2018 to Denver, is fighting with the team over money he says it owes him.
“2 years later and I’m still fighting the Skins on something they’ve continued to do countless time(s),” Cravens said in one of his tweets. “Which is why the best tackle in the game refuses to play for them now. Same reason I left. Mishandled injuries and withheld info. All evidence points to them being guilty!”
The Redskins have not commented on Cravens’s tweets.
Adam Kilgore contributed to this report.
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