Redskins’ Trent Williams Says Cancer Scare Reaction Led to Rift with Team

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Trent Williams
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins’ left tackle Trent Williams is finally discussing the reasons behind his rift with the team, one that has kept him off the field for the entire 2019, as he has continued to hold out since June.

Williams says he no longer trusts the organization, upset over how long he said it took them to take care of a cancerous growth on his scalp, and added that he felt they were vindictive by waiting until the last minutes of the NFL trade deadline to attempt to trade him.

Williams says his holdout was due to his distrust of the team’s medical staff, although nobody was named, and because the team didn’t give him more guaranteed money during the final two years of his contract, which expires after the 2020 season.

“There’s no trust there,” Williams said, according to ESPN’s John Keim. “There are some things that happened that are hard to look past.”

Williams said he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP), adding that doctors told him the growth was removed only weeks before it would have reached his skull, informing him to get his affairs in order.

Williams discussed how he said goodbye to his daughters prior to undergoing surgery because he did not know if he would see them again.

“It was cancer. I had a tumor removed from my skull — attached to my skull — it got pretty serious for a second,” Williams said. “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.”

Williams states that the Redskins medical staff knew about the growth on his head as early as six years ago, but nothing was done until this offseason. The team has said that they prodded him to seek more medical attention.

The Redskins said they’ve requested that the NFL’s Management Council and NFLPA review the medical records and the medical care given to Williams, in a statement that was issued on Thursday.

“We have requested this review under the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement that provides for an independent third party review of any NFL player’s medical care,” the statement read. “The Redskins continue to prioritize the health and well-being of our players and staff. Due to healthcare and privacy regulations, we are unable to comment further at this time.”

“I mean, the lump continued to grow over the years” Williams said. “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,” he said. “That’s how I looked at it.”

“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,” Williams said.

“We literally caught it within weeks of metastasizing through to my brain to my skull,” Williams said. “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.”

“It was a lot of emotions. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t,” he said. “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.”

Williams says that he informed the team that he no longer wanted to play for them back in June, but the team told other teams that the price tag to strike a deal was high, only aggressively shopping him prior to Tuesday’s deadline to make a trade.

“I mean, when you give them 48 hours to strike a deal it probably isn’t going to happen,” Williams said. “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.”

Williams and the Redskins don’t seem likely to mend fences anytime soon, and it has been rumored that the team will try to deal him this offseason, around the NFL draft as teams will have a better picture of the shape of their roster.