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To Trent Williams, Playing Sunday The Responsibility Of A Leader

By ZAC BOYER

zboyer@freelancestar.com | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – Trent Williams thought all week it would be a long shot if he was on the field Sunday at Tampa Bay. A bone bruise sustained in his right knee left him struggling to move, and the thought of playing in a football game – let alone all 73 offensive snaps – was too much to comprehend.

Williams

But Williams did so, putting the pain behind him and helping the Redskins defeat the Buccaneers 24-22. Later, he said he did it because he felt like he owed it to the team to play through the pain – a sentiment partly inspired by his four-game suspension at the end of last season.

“I mean, that’s the driving force behind a lot of the things that I do as of now,” said Williams, who was forced to sit out the final four games after failing multiple drug tests. “I made a mistake and I kind of use that as a learning experience. Of course, I alienated my team for four games and I wasn’t able to be there and I was a captain at the time, so that made me feel even worse, but this year I’m just trying to prove to them that I’ve grown up a lot and that’s not me anymore.”

Williams was named the Redskins’ offensive captain in a vote of his teammates prior to the start of the season – a heavy burden to put on a player who wasn’t available to play in the final quarter of 2011. He maintained throughout the offseason and into the start of this year that he’s changed, and holding a leadership role is something he takes a lot of pride in.

That knee injury provided yet another way to prove his accountability to the rest of the team. Williams felt limited by the knee against the Buccaneers; when he originally bruised it against Cincinnati, he tried to return, but had to leave when he had trouble moving to his right.

He wasn’t pleased with how he performed, but the fact that he was able to do play meant a lot to him.

“I try to be a leader by example, but I have a few chosen words with people when I think the time is right,” Williams said. “But other than that, I just try to be the best teammate I can be.”

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