Washington used its first pick in this year’s draft on the man they hope is a franchise quarterback.
But if and when Dwayne Haskins starts a game, he may not have the team’s cornerstone left tackle protecting him.
‘He’s not coming back. Period.’
On Thursday, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington offered the latest update on seven-time Pro Bowler Trent Williams, who has not been with Washington since last regular season ended, missing voluntary OTAs, mandatory minicamp and two weeks of training camp.
Citing multiple sources, Finlay wrote that Williams has no intention of reporting to Washington anytime soon, and that includes once the preseason starts. Washington’s first exhibition game is Thursday in Cleveland.
“He’s not coming back. Period,” one source who has spoken to Williams told NBC Sports Washington.
While Finlay reported that there’s a belief within the organization that Williams’ situation is all about money — 2019 is the fourth year of his five-year, $66 million contract — there are other reports that say it’s not.
‘It’s not a contract thing’
Last week, longtime Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who is now an NFL Network commentator, said he spoke to Williams and that his holdout isn’t about money.
“He’s in a good place mentally, and he’s prepared to figure this thing out,” Hall said. “It’s not a contract thing. And that’s what I asked him — I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this. It’s not about money. Would money help ease things a little bit? Maybe so.
“But this is not strictly a financial situation that we’re discussing, and that’s what makes it so different and unorthodox and something we’ve never seen. We’ve never had a player say, ‘Hey, get that [athletic] training staff out of here or I’m not coming back.’”
Also last week, Washington Post columnist Jerry Brewer wrote about the divide between Williams and Washington, and that Williams’ mistrust of the organization and particularly the training staff are a big part of it.
Williams had a growth on his head that scared him, Brewer wrote, and believes the team medical staff mishandled the situation.
He has since had the growth/tumor removed, and it was found to be benign.
Fines won’t solve things
As Finlay wrote, Washington apparently believes fining Williams will get him to rejoin the team. But Williams, who has played through injury before out of his dedication to the team, is as principled as they come, and sources say even $500,000 in fines won’t get him to change his mind.
Now 31 years old, Williams would like to be traded and believes he can play for several more years — but not if he stays with Washington and its medical staff.
Washington signed Donald Penn last week; the veteran left tackle said he’d spoken to Williams before signing, but it’s not clear what Williams told Penn about his situation.
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