Multiple times last season, Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams turned to his will in order to drag his smashed up body onto the field.
Williams had shoulder, knee and ankle problems. He would move around the locker room after games with an arm held close or a leg just short of useless. The bludgeoning from injuries became so bad, it was fair to wonder what Williams was still doing on the field during the final stretch of another lost season. Even his agent told him to stop playing and worry about the 2015 season.
“I couldn’t let myself sit on the sideline if at all I could go,” Williams said.
The high left ankle sprain suffered in the final game of last season is still nagging Williams, though he said his knee and shoulder are healed. He does not expect to participate in organized team activities. His goal is to be ready for training camp.
“It’s been an ongoing thing,” Williams said. “My mind frame was trying to get it 100 percent before going into camp. Didn’t want to suffer any setbacks during OTAs. I want it to be 100 percent so I can put this thing behind me.”
Williams was selected to his third Pro Bowl last season, but did not play in the game after tweaking the ankle during a Pro Bowl practice.
In April, he visited Dr. Robert Anderson, a foot and ankle specialist, shortly before organized team activities began.
“We kind of got it pinpointed to exactly what it is, so now it’s encouraging knowing that we’ve got the right plan intact that will help me get back on the field a little quicker,” Williams said.
The various injuries caused Williams to reduce his reliance on athleticism and maintain his basics the best he could.
“I wasn’t as dynamic as I was accustomed to,” Williams said. “All that stuff just kind of made me stay in a box and play fundamental football. Now, I can kind of get back to chasing those backside linebackers down, those backside safeties.”
Williams said the injuries also created another issue for him last season: His weight went up to 345 pounds. Thanks to an offseason of boxing and a revamped diet, Williams has lost 20 pounds despite not being able to do his regular amount of running because of the ankle problem.
Out are midnight visits to the local fast-food chain for a burger. In is portion control and a longing smile when explaining the dietary changes. Though Williams sees linebacker Ryan Kerrigan eating kale, considered to be among the world’s healthiest foods “three times a day,” he has not gone quite that far.
“I don’t know if I can do it that much,” Williams said. “Maybe I’ll slide one in every now and then.”
Reed recovering from injection
Tight end Jordan Reed said he opted to undergo a procedure to address the constant inflammation in his left knee last week after it failed to subside with rest. He said the soreness was an accumulation of wear and tear and not the result of any specific activity.
Reed did not have surgery on the knee, but instead received an anti-inflammatory injection that he hoped would alleviate some of the stress. Reed received the same injection following his final season at Florida in 2013, when he bruised the knee late in the year.
“I thought I could try to do another thing that we thought might fix it so I could be ready for these OTAs, but it turned out we’d rather just get it done right now so we have no more problems,” Reed said.
Coach Jay Gruden said Williams and Reed figure to be ready for the start of training camp, which is tentatively set to begin July 30 and will be held in Richmond for the third consecutive year.
“This is a time where we get a chance for them to work out in the weight room still, build their upper-body strength, but make sure that the things that really make their money — Jordan needs legs, man. He needs to have those things 100 percent, and we’re going to make sure he’s right for training camp,” Gruden said.