- - Tuesday, August 20, 2019

When Redskins running back and the team’s 2018 offensive MVP Adrian Peterson told reporters last week that the absence of Trent Williams on the left side of the offensive line “hurts,” he started to talk about the potential damage Williams’ holdout will have on the team quarterbacks.

Trent is the best left tackle in the league, hands down,” Peterson said. “He’s the most athletic left tackle in the NFL. When you’re missing the best player on the team, you’re going to feel the effect of that. It’s different for our quarterbacks to sit back there and not know for certain that their back side is protected. When Trent is back there, you know that your back side is protected. It just brings confidence for the quarterbacks …”

And then he added the money quote, what Peterson was really getting at.

” … and for the running backs, too, within the run game.”

For this specific running back, his wallet, and how empty it is.

There’ll be a lot of collateral damage from Williams’ reported refusal to report to the Redskins if it continues into the season. There’ll be the damage to the organization both inside and outside the industry surrounding Williams‘ reported issues of trust with the team’s medical staff. There will, of course, be the inability to protect the team’s prize first-round pick, quarterback Dwayne Haskins, or whoever is behind center for this team when they open the season in Philadelphia on Sept. 8.

Williams, like Peterson said, is among the best left tackles in the league, the anchor of an offensive line that at times has looked solid but has been plagued by injuries and lack of depth. It’s not just the absence of the starting left tackle. It’s the absence of a seven-time Pro Bowler and team leader.

Like the great Otis Redding said, “You don’t miss your water until your well runs dry.”

Peterson noticed a dry well the first day of training camp in Richmond.

“Since Day 1 of camp you notice his absence is impacting us tremendously,” he told ESPN last week. “You go from not having to worry about the blind side at all, to having to chip on that side, add a tight end there, which changes what you do. I think it’s making Dwayne Haskins to have think more, not process things as calmly. Matter of fact I think it’s impacting all of our quarterbacks. Guys are coming off the edge in practice right there on the quarterback and the running back. It’s been a struggle.”

There was a lot of emphasis on the damage to the quarterbacks in Peterson’s comments, but he ended up both times mentioning the running backs — in other words, him.

No one may have a more vested interest in Williams paving the way this year than Peterson, who, according to The Athletic, is in deep financial trouble.

A lender is reportedly suing Peterson for $6.6 million for defaulting on a $5.2 million loan he took out to pay other debts. He had to repay another bank in Minnesota last year for defaulting on a 2016 loan, and earlier this summer, Peterson lost a $2.4 million judgment in a Maryland court.

“The truth behind Adrian Peterson’s current financial situation is more than is being reported at this time,” Chase Carlson, Peterson’s lawyer, followed up with a statement on Twitter. “Because of ongoing legal matters, I am unable to go into detail, but I will say this is yet another situation of an athlete trusting the wrong people and being taken advantage of by those he trusted. Adrian and his family look forward to sharing further details when appropriate.”

Peterson is a future Hall of Fame running back who was suspended for a season in 2014 after pleading guilty to beating his 4-year-old son. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler who has gained 13,318 yards over 12 seasons. He has reportedly earned $99 million over his time in the NFL.

But after a long career in Minnesota, followed by brief stints in New Orleans and Arizona, Peterson was out of football until Redskins rookie running back Derrius Guice tore knee ligaments in the first preseason game last year and Washington picked the veteran up.

He proved to be important, gaining 1,042 yards on 251 carries and essentially serving as the team’s best source of offense under the limited direction of newly acquired quarterback Alex Smith — until Smith was knocked out for the season in week 11 with a severely broken leg that may have ended his career.

Peterson reportedly earned just over $1 million last season and he will earn $2.5 million in 2019, but that includes incentives which are likely tied to production.

So Peterson’s best chance to at least slowly climb out of debt is behind his friend, Trent Williams.

He had good reason to try to convince Williams to come back to Washington — his own financial hell. He failed.

“I shot my shot,” Peterson told reporters.

A dry well — an empty wallet — could make for a very unhappy Adrian Peterson this season.

• Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.

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