Williams leads by example
BY JOSEPH WHITE Associated Press
Friday, December 21, 2012
12/21/12 at 6:29 AM
ASHBURN, Va. - The latest in a long line of Washington Redskins knuckleheads.
That was Trent Williams a year ago, after he was suspended for four games by the NFL for testing positive multiple times for marijuana. He was a first-round pick gone bad, fitting right in the tradition of a franchise that's seen far too much off-the-field misbehavior in recent years.
But Williams did something a lot of miscreants don't do. He owned up to his mistake, didn't hide in a shell of denial or blame his problems on others. The third-year left tackle did not want to be remembered as a dope-head, and he set his sights on having his name associated with nicer words.
Pro Bowl left tackle, for example.
"I bust my butt all offseason with that on my mind, and it fueled my fire a lot of days," Williams said. "And to be able to come out and perform with the best in the league and be noted as a Pro Bowl guy, it'd just mean that all my hard work, it just wasn't (whistling) in the wind. That accolade would just kind of let people know how far I've come and how far I'm matured and the type of player I've become. That's what I really want to be known for.
"I don't want to be known for the guy who failed multiple drug tests. That is me, in a sense. It did happen. I embrace that wholeheartedly. That happened, but I have an opportunity to change it, and that's what I want to do."
Coach Mike Shanahan last week said that Williams is having a Pro Bowl season, although coaches naturally push any player who's doing well. If Williams is going to make it, he'll probably need disproportionate support from the coaches and players in the voting because his reputation hasn't been rehabilitated fully among some fans.
"Obviously they haven't really heard my name with a positive sense in the years before this," he said.
Teammates saw a new Trent Williams during the offseason program and at training camp, then rewarded him by electing him to be a team captain on offense. Outsiders might have wondered about the symbolism of such a move, but the players saw someone who had moved on from his troubles.
"Trent's stepped up his level of commitment to the team," Lichtensteiger said. "To be elected captain after an incident like that says a lot about how we feel about him as a player, as a leader on this team."
Redskins up next
At Philadelphia Noon Sunday