- The Washington Times - Monday, April 7, 2014

Trent Williams first had the opportunity to meet DeSean Jackson in January, when the two were in Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. They hit it off and stayed in touch over the next several months, and when Jackson was released by the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago, Williams reached out to him to see if his Washington Redskins were in contention to sign him.

“When he told me that they were talking, I just told him, basically, that we would love to have a player of his caliber, that our team would be willing to embrace him and try to do big things this year,” Williams said Monday.

Jackson, who signed what is essentially a three-year, $24 million contract with the Redskins last week, termed his departure from the Eagles “humbling.” He found it uplifting to have so many Redskins players, including quarterback Robert Griffin III, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and apparently Williams as well, reach out to him during the few days he was a free agent.

Williams doesn’t know Jackson that well, and the two didn’t get a chance to further their relationship on Monday; Jackson was reportedly not in attendance for the start of the Redskins’ voluntary workouts, owing to a previously scheduled vacation.

That didn’t prevent Williams from defending his new teammate from all kinds of allegations that have surrounded him in recent weeks, from possible associations to gang members to the notion that he can be a disruptive presence in the locker room.

“A lot of that stuff is just he-said, she-said stuff, and you can’t [trust it] – you’ve got to get to know a guy for yourself,” Williams said. “I’ve never – I haven’t had any type of bad feelings towards him, or any type of bad reads. When I met him, he was a great guy. He’s been a pretty cool guy since then. We exchanged numbers at the Pro Bowl and we’ve kept in touch. I mean, I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I don’t think his character is bad. I think he can be a great addition to the team, obviously.”

Williams has had his own public mishaps, including during the week leading up to the Pro Bowl last year, when he required stitches after being hit over the head by a bottle during a fight at a nightclub.

Such incidents understandably will lead to headlines, especially when Williams was kept out of the game or Jackson was released by the only team he played for over six seasons. But the left tackle also suggested Monday that jealousy and spite can also be a motivation.

“I mean, in my opinion, we play a game that, you know, it’s America’s game, and there’s a lot of eyes on you,” Williams said. “I think a lot of people just want to pick you apart. No matter what you do, they’re going to find the wrong in what you do, and kind of, you know, forget about the good things or whatever may have you.

“To be honest with you, for a guy that has had the type of impact that he has had, and what, you know, three Pro Bowls, and a countless number of big plays and putting his team in position to win? To me, I wouldn’t question his practice habits. I wouldn’t question him as a player. I mean, he’s proven himself day in and day out, and I just think it’s just human nature for whatever you’re doing, with all eyes on you and the public eye, there’s somebody that’s not going to like you. They may not like you as a person, or whatever the case may be, but there’s always going to people that are going to say things. I’m not going to judge him or say that he needs to change which way or the other. You know, honestly, I can only go on his body of work, and his body of work, his numbers, can stand up there with the top receivers in the league.”