The players’ union statement referred to the NFL Network report as “misinformation.”
Williams ended his season-long holdout Tuesday and spoke to reporters Thursday, detailing publicly for the first time the reasons behind his standoff with the team. Williams accused the team of misdiagnosing a cancerous growth on his scalp for more than five years.
Former Redskins general manager Charley Casserly, who is a contributor on the NFL Network, said in a segment on the network Friday that Williams had been advised by the Redskins to go see a specialist three years ago, but Williams did not.
The team declined to comment through a spokesman Sunday. On Thursday, the Redskins released a statement calling for a joint NFL and NFLPA committee to examine the medical treatment Williams received and cited “health care and privacy regulations” as preventing them from detailing their perspective on Williams’s accusations.
The league announced Friday that a joint investigation will be conducted.
“In our multiple conversations with Trent and his agent, we have considered various options based on the facts,” the NFLPA said in its statement, “but we also understand that Trent wants to put this all behind him, not relive a painful experience when his life was in danger and move on with his career. We are also aware of misinformation being repeated on the NFL’s own network that is not sourced and is only designed to tarnish Trent’s reputation. Our union supports Trent, is protecting his rights and continues to consider potential action if a campaign against him continues.”
Williams said he almost lost his life after team doctors advised him that the mass on his scalp was not a big deal. The seven-time Pro Bowl tackle said he brought the issue to the team six years ago and the medical staff became concerned only this past winter, which led to Williams seeing a specialist who diagnosed him with a rare form of cancer, dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans. Williams said he had surgery in which 30 percent of his scalp was removed and described the situation as being so serious that a doctor advised him to get his affairs in order before the surgery. The cancer was only weeks from spreading to his brain when he had the growth removed, according to Williams.
Casserly said team doctors advised him to see a specialist three years ago and Williams ignored the advice.
“Three years ago he was advised to see a specialist,” Casserly said on NFL Network. “The specialist said, theoretically we’ll say this, it doesn’t look like anything, but we should go in and take a look at it. Meaning, we should take a look at this thing surgically. Anybody who’s had anything with skin cancer, it’s impossible to tell things from the outside. He never scheduled the appointment three years ago. That’s on the player. That’s not on anybody else. That’s a fact. That was ignored in his press conference [Thursday]. I think this is about money. … I know why the Redskins did this. The Redskins believe that they did all the right things.”
Williams did acknowledge that his contract situation played a role in his decision to hold out, citing the fact that there were no remaining guarantees in the five-year, $66 million contract that expires after the 2020 season. He said he was uncomfortable playing without guarantees, given his lack of confidence in the medical treatment he would receive from the team if he was injured.
It is unclear when Williams will return to the field for the Redskins. He failed his physical Wednesday because of discomfort when he put on his helmet. The team obtained a two-week roster exemption for him.