From Grant Paulsen
The third season was the charm for Trent Williams.
The first draft pick of the Mike Shanahan tenure in Washington, Williams has officially made good on the Redskins making him the No. 4 overall pick back in 2010.
Two years after playing inconsistent football and a year after finishing the 2011 season by serving a four-game suspension for multiple failed drug tests, Williams found out that he was nominated to the pro bowl for the first time.
“I was extremely excited,” the 24-year-old left tackle said about getting the news, which came via phone call on Wednesday afternoon. “My coach called me. I thought it was kind of odd that he was calling me around four o’clock. I was a little skeptical when I answered the phone.”
It wasn’t long ago that Williams was fielding unpleasant calls from his coaches.
The Redskins’ highest-paid player and a second-year captain, Williams’ 2011 suspension cost him more than just money. The Oklahoma-product says he used the suspension as motivation to prove detractors wrong and as a source of inspiration to prove worthy of the paramount investment the team made in him.
“It just shows people how much I’ve matured over these past 12 months,” Williams said of being named a pro-bowler. “A lot of guys make mistakes and don’t learn from them and fortunately I learned from my mistake. I was able to make the best out of it.”
Head coach Mike Shanahan is on record as saying that Williams is the most athletic offensive lineman he’s coached.
“He’s made some tremendous strides since he’s been here,” Shanahan said. “We always knew the type of athlete that he was. For him to go back to the basics and be accountable and do the little things the right way, it’s nice to see him get rewarded for the way he’s played and the way he’s handled himself.”
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is equally as proud of his blue-chip left tackle, who’s helped plow the way for Washington’s top-ranked rushing attack.
“Trent’s been great,” the coordinator said. “He’s been extremely talented since we got him here. He loves playing, he always shows up on gameday.”
But according to Kyle Shanahan this season has been different for the 6-foot, 5-inch tackle. He’s no longer just the most gifted player on Washington’s offensive line. Now he’s also one of the most fundamentally sound.
“He showed up trying to detail his technique and not just depending on being such a good talent. He’s really tried to get good at his craft. He’s done a hell of a job as a leader, as a player. I’m glad he got what he deserved because he definitely deserves to be in the pro bowl.”
Williams admitted that being voted a pro bowler in his third season makes the accomplishment more meaningful. His 24 games of experience and the adversity he’s had to overcome during his time in Washington help provide a perspective on what he achieved this season that he may not have had otherwise.
“You go through the rain to get to the sunshine,” Williams said. “The sunshine’s a little brighter on the other side of storm clouds.”