Trent Williams On Holdout

This would a new low for the Redskins.

Jim Rome
November 01, 2019 - 10:27 am
Trent Williams

USA Today

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The Washington Nationals winning the World Series means that in a very brief time, the Nationals, Capitals, and Mystics have all won titles. And the football team in that city hasn’t. And hasn’t even come close. And in their quest to keep on failing, the team decided not to trade Trent Williams, despite the fact that he’s made it clear he has no interest in being there. He wants nothing to do with them.

This week he finally reported to the team and yesterday he met with the media. And of course, the question came up about the nature of his relationship with the organization.

"There's no trust there. There are some things that happened that are hard to look past."

Well, okay, but what are those things. How bad can it really be? How badly could a team really treat one of its best players?  How bad? Oh, just a cancer diagnosis that he says the team told him was “something minor.”

Apparently, that bad. 

I’ll be honest, I’m still trying wrap my head around this whole story, because it seems completely insane, even by Washington’s already insane standards.

Washington already has a terrible reputation when it comes to their medical staff, but even for them, this is a new low. In fact, an all-time low.

According to Williams, he first noticed a growth on his head about six years ago and told the team medical staff about it. According to Williams, they told him it was “something minor,” but it kept growing.

"I mean, the lump continued to grow over the years. It was concerning, but there was no pain involved, and if I'm being told by the very people I put my career in the hands of, people are telling me I'm fine, I'm fine. That's how I looked at it."

But he still wanted it dealt with and says that he even told doctors to remove it during previous surgeries on his knee and thumb. Huh?!?

How does that go? Hey, doc, I know you’re working on my knee, but when you’re done with that, could you also take this thing off my skull real quick?

I see him working, but this is surgery on your skull. It’s not like saying, can you run to the store for some milk, oh, and grab some bread while you’re there? When it comes to surgeries, I’m not looking for a two-for-one deal.

But it does show that he was concerned about it and wanted it removed. Then the team doctors examined him again this past offseason and according to Williams, they were concerned.

"They kind of underestimated it, and it was far more advanced than they realized, and I don't think they realized how long it was there.”

And this is where it gets really bad. Williams flew to Chicago, and for some reason, some people want you to know he went there on Dan Snyder’s plane, like that really matters if what he’s saying is true. I mean, if the team doctors really did downplay and ignore a tumor on his skull for six years, letting him borrow your plane for surgery isn’t as generous as you want to make it sound.

Anyway, Williams went to Chicago for surgery and it turns out that thing he allegedly was told was “something minor” was a rare form of cancer and that the growth was removed only weeks before it would’ve been so much worse.

"We literally caught it within weeks of metastasizing through to my brain to my skull. Extracting it was the only thing they could do. Doing radiology on it would have put a cap on my life. I think 15 years was the most I would have had after I started chemo. So I had to cut it out."

And by “cut it out” what he means is he had to have surgery to have the tumor removed from his skull. A surgery that resulted in 350 stitches, 75 staples, and an incision roughly the diameter of a softball. 

"It was cancer. I had a tumor removed from my skull -- attached to my skull -- it got pretty serious for a second. I was told some scary things from the doctors. It was definitely nothing to play with. It was one of those things that will change your outlook on life."

Right. Having your skull cracked open will change your outlook on life. And so will cancer. And so will having your skull cracked open because of cancer. I’ve seen it first.  I’ll never forget what it was like to see my father right after he had brain surgery as a result of leukemia. Cancer has been a topic on the show a couple times this week, with Eddie O and with Minnesota football player Casey O’Brien. They are both so impressive in how they handled their diagnosis and responded to it. But one thing I never heard them say was, it’s something minor. If anything, they’re going in the opposite direction. Get checked early. Find out everything.

But according to Williams, that’s not how Washington’s doctors roll. 

Imagine going through all of that and then having to come back to a team with a medical staff you don’t trust, a medical staff who looked at a cancerous growth on your head and told you it was a minor thing: and then having to go through a physical with them.

"It was a lot of emotions. I'm not going to lie and say it wasn't. I almost lost my life. Seriously, I almost lost my life. You're 30 and coming off seven straight Pro Bowls and a doctor tells you to get your affairs in order, it's not going to sit well with you. It still doesn't. It still, even thinking about it, it's a scary thing to go through. Think how you describe to your 9-year-old, your 5-year-old that daddy might not be here. It's tough."

That’s beyond tough. Being told to get your affairs in order and telling your two daughters that you might not make it? It does not get harder than that. That’s insane.

And on top of all this, as Williams sees it, the way the team handled the trade deadline just added insult to injury. Because even though teams were interested in him, Washington didn’t really try to actually trade him until it was too late.

"I mean, when you give them 48 hours to strike a deal it probably isn't going to happen. I just felt like that was done to embarrass me, try to make it feel like, 'Ain't nobody want you; you're not good enough for us to trade for.' I felt like that was the play more so than to get me moved."

Again, if that’s how it went down, that is pure trash. Hey, sorry about the cancer thing, anyway, nobody wants you so you have to stay with us, the team that told you that cancerous lump on your head that almost killed you was “something minor.”

If that’s how it all went down, Washington has a hell of a lot of questions to answer, not the least of which being why they didn’t let him leave when he wanted to.

If that’s how they handled it all along, if they really downplayed it like that, if they really told him that what turned out to be a tumor on his skull was “something minor” then you sure as hell better do whatever he wants when it turns out to be a tumor that was weeks away from metastasizing.

And even if that isn’t how it went down, if that’s how he thinks it went down, you might as well trade him, because the relationship has been completely destroyed.

The team issued a statement yesterday where they called for NFL’s Management Council convene a joint committee with the NFLPA to review the medical records and the medical care given to Williams. They seem to believe that it will reveal a story that’s different from the one Williams just told. It better.

Because I want to believe there’s no way it could’ve possibly gone down the way Williams said it did, but knowing Washington, I wouldn’t be shocked.