Redskins left tackle Trent Williams returned to practice on Wednesday, feeling thankful for the opportunity to be back on the field after being sidelined for four games.
Washington Redskins tackle Trent Williams was honest in his first interview following the completion of a four-game suspension that forced him to the sideline for Weeks 10-13.
"It was a lot of anxiety, it was really tough," Williams admitted. "One of the hardest things for me was watching the games on TV and feeling helpless.
"It was lonely. It was tough, man. Tried to be by myself probably, just so I didn't have to field any questions while the game was going on. Best to just lock myself in a room and root for my team."
Williams added that it was "extremely difficult" to be away from the game he loved and being miles away from his teammates as they went through four tough games, but he tried to keep close with everyone.
He continued to attend team meetings and worked out the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va. He also hosted weekly dinners at his house.
"[I] treated it just like I'm playing, I've come to meetings, I take notes, I helped the guys out with whatever they [needed] help with and when they [would] go out to practice, I'd go in the weight room and just try to get better," Williams said.
While Ty Nsekhe filled in quite well for Williams during his absence – proving that he's more than capable of being a starter in the NFL – getting the All-Pro tackle back provides the Redskins quite the jolt as they enter a stretch run where they need to win games to stay alive in a competitive NFC.
Williams returns at a time when Ty Nsekhe and Morgan Moses are battling through ankle injuries.
Washington Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams on Wednesday was named to the NFL's 'Top 100 Players of 2016' list, checking in at No. 45.
"It's great to get Trent back under any circumstances, but when so many people are banged up, it's a real needed shot in the arm," quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "So, glad to have one of our best players back and I know he's ready to go and love to see his urgency and excitement coming back."
Starting with this Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins have four games remaining to secure a playoff spot.
While he wished he was on the field over the last month, the 2010 first-round pick feels perhaps the freshest he's ever felt at this stage of the season.
"I knew that I would come back at a critical part in the season and I didn't want to get out of the groove of playing football," Williams said. "I wanted to stay as embedded in it as I could, as they allowed me to. That's why I continued with the routine and you know the guys the dinner and all that stuff, it all helps. It all helps build comradery and it gives us a chance to talk amongst each other. It was a stress reliever for me as well."
With a chance to redeem himself on the field and prove once again that he's one of the best players in the NFL today, Williams is "just grateful to be back."
"The little things you take for granted, just going out and practicing every day, it kind of gets monotonous during the season, you understand what you're missing," Williams said. "I'm just glad to be back."