WASHINGTON — Redskins great Joe Theismann has some tough love for suspended left tackle Trent Williams.
Williams will miss the toughest part of the Redskins’ season — four consecutive games against the Vikings, Packers, Cowboys and Cardinals — after being suspended by the NFL this week, for the second time in his career, after violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
“And now with Trent Williams doing what he did, and by the way, I think that the right thing to do for Trent Williams is to take that ‘C’ off his jersey,” Theismann said. “Because he doesn’t deserve it.”
“There’s responsibility that goes with that letter on your jersey and he has not lived up to that responsibility,” he said. “He has let the organization, the fans and his teammates down in a big way. You can’t come back from a four-game suspension, like he will, and still be considered a captain of a football team. I just think that would be very hypocritical.”
Asked what type of disadvantage Williams’ suspension leaves the Redskins in, Theismann said, “I think Ty [Nsekhe] will play well, but he’s not Trent Williams. Trent’s a four-time Pro Bowler.”
“I mean you look at the credentials, you look at where he’s worked himself to,” he continued. “A couple years ago he was heavy, he was overweight. Then he committed himself to being a much better football player, and now he’s basically put the football team in a very, very difficult situation.
“I mean, you know, it’s a brotherhood in there. You count on the guy next to you. You count on the guy — whether it’s a special teams label, or a D label or an O label — you count on that guy to show up for you. You play for the fans, but those guys in that locker room, the sweat, the pain, all the stuff you go through, they know what it’s like. And then all of a sudden you go do something like this?”
“You know, to be honest with you, in this day and age, they’ll probably go, ‘Oh, great. Trent’s back.’ I think that’s a bunch of bologna,” he went on. “I don’t think you can overstate the disappointment of what he has done. And, how well will we do? I think Ty, he knows what responsibility he has a left tackle, and [offensive line coach Bill Callahan] will coach him up and he’ll be ready to go.”
Theismann took his criticism further in saying Williams, when he returns, shouldn’t get his starting job back if Nsekhe is playing well in his stead.
“And, truthfully, if Ty is playing well when Trent’s suspension is over, maybe he doesn’t get his job back,” Theismann said. “I don’t care what he was. I don’t care about the Pro Bowl monikers. If the kid’s playing well and the line’s playing well, you opened the door — it isn’t like a coach made a decision to sit you down, you did it to yourself. By the way. Sixty-six million dollars should require you to be smarter than that.”
“They’re paying you like a leader,” Dukes said. “I think it’s a valid criticism, despite how maybe people don’t want to hear that, but a level of personal responsibility would seem to me to be apropos, considering the investment the organization made in him.”
“Considering the fact that you’ve already erred once,” Theismann said in reference to Williams’ 2011 suspension. “This isn’t like it’s the first time. And I’m probably more disappointed in Trent and the situation he got himself in than I have been in a lot of players that I’ve seen have troubles, and that’s because, of all the things that you hear, and all the things that he said, and all the, quote, unquote, ‘leadership role’ that he took the responsibility on of, and you do this? I mean, really?”
“But nobody in the organization is gonna say it,” he said, “but I’m not in the organization. That’s the way I feel, like I said, is you’re letting down a whole bunch of guys, guys that counted on you, guys that believed in you, guys that bought that… whatever you were saying. You sold them a bill of goods. And if Trent was sitting in front of me, I would tell him the same exact thing. I am disappointed. And every fan should be.”