- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2012

Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams has much to prove in 2012 after being suspended for the final four games of last season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

“I made a mistake, and I’ve just got to deal with it,” he said Monday morning at The Leukemia Golf Classic, which was hosted by linebacker Brian Orakpo.

“It was tough having to watch the game from the couch,” he said in his first public comments since the suspension. “It’s definitely something I’ve never been a part of. I never thought I’d be doing this type of stuff you do when you make decisions like that.”

Several outlets reported last December that Williams failed multiple drug tests during training camp. That ostensibly indicates some poor decision-making, at best, and perhaps a need for some lifestyle alterations.

The Redskins are counting on him to stay clean. He was the fourth-overall draft pick in 2010, and their offensive line lacks established depth. Another positive drug test would result in a year-long suspension.

Williams was asked if he has made any significant changes to his life since the suspension.

“We’re dealing with the program,” he said. “They take certain amount of measures to make sure it doesn’t occur again. But not really.”

Asked again about any changes, he said: “Nah.”

He did say, though, that he is pleased with the direction in which his life is headed.

“That’s all behind me, a storm passed,” he said. “Just ready to try to get in these playoffs, man.”

Hankerson’s hip healing

Receiver Leonard Hankerson hopes his surgically-repaired right hip is healthy enough for him to participate in the team’s four-day minicamp that begins June 11.

“I’m feeling good, getting better each and every day,” Hankerson said Monday. “I’m not quite there yet, but I’m looking forward to being there in a couple weeks.”

Hankerson tore the labrum in his hip when the joint popped out and back in when he was tackled late in a loss to the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 13. He did not have surgery until late February because doctors wanted first to see if the hip would heal without a procedure.

Coach Mike Shanahan has spoken highly of Hankerson this offseason after he had 13 catches for 163 yards in four games (two starts) in 2011.

Coaches expect the second-year receiver out of the University of Miami to be one of their top playmakers, and he could compete with free agent acquisition Josh Morgan for a starting spot.

For now, Hankerson is aching just to get back on the field.

“Any competitor wants to go out there and compete, wants to be out there with the guys running plays, running routes,” he said. “I want to be out there.”

Advice for RG3

When quarterback Robert Griffin III joins the full squad for offseason workouts May 14, he will begin the process of earning respect in the locker room. While Griffin’s new teammates are excited about his arrival, they expect him to win them over the right way.

“Really just come in here, probably just keep your mouth closed and just go out there and do it on the field,” said receiver Anthony Armstrong, who worked his way up to the NFL via the arena leagues. “That’s the way that you’re going to gain respect. I learned that myself.”

Linebacker Brian Orakpo made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2009, but he wasn’t always the leader he is now.

“The one thing I can say that I learned is to be humble,” he said. “He already seems like a humble guy from my experience, from what I hear, and he works extremely hard. He should fit in easy in this locker room, especially with those traits.”

Orakpo hosted Monday’s Leukemia Golf Classic at Trump Country Club in Potomac Falls, Va. The event raised money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Coach Mike Shanahan gave the entire team the day off but counted it as an offseason workout day to encourage attendance. Dozens of players attended.

“It shows that he cares and that it’s a family,” Orakpo said. “We’re here to support each other.”

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