Left tackle Trent Williams has endured a lot of pain and fought through several injuries in his career. He explains why his father has helped him through it all.
As the December chill makes it way to FedExField Monday night, the natural tolerance for pain is likely to decrease a bit more for players wrestling on the field. After four straight months of enduring the grind – the meetings, the practices and then those bone-bruising games – the final month of the season presents its most challenging physical toll yet.
The Washington Redskins are preparing for the Dallas Cowboys as they would every opponent this week, and the extra day of rest that comes with being scheduled for Monday will surely help heal some sore muscles.
What is impressive, and through a certain lens particularly heroic considering his position, has been the durability of left tackle Trent Williams, a dedicated starter since being selected fourth overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
The three-time Pro Bowler recently signed a reported five-year contract extension just prior to the regular season, an indication from general manager Scot McCloughan and the organization that Williams has the kind of talent, but more importantly the kind of leadership, they want to be emblematic of the team.
Williams said Wednesday on a conference call with local reporters that he owes his toughness and work ethic to his father, Freddie Williams, who worked as a mechanic in their hometown of Longview, Texas.
"My dad was an extremely hard worker and he hardly ever missed a day of work, no matter how sick he was," Williams said. "There was even times my dad even walked to work when he didn't have transportation. Just seeing that type of stuff, it instilled a certain type of determination inside of me, and ultimately I'm a competitor, man. No matter if it's the Super Bowl or if it's a preseason game, if my team is out there, I feel like I should be out there and I should be contributing."
The Redskins have already seen that spirit when Williams fought through a banged up knee suffered during the Panthers game and started the next week against the division rival Giants.
He's dealt with variations of knee injuries throughout his six years in Washington and has fought through them, earning respect from his teammates and coaches and being named an offensive captain because of it.
Since 2012, he's only missed two games – once this year against the Jets because of a concussion and once last year against the 49ers with a sprained ankle and knee injury.
As a mechanic, Freddie developed arthritis but maintained his level of commitment to his job, standing on concrete floors all day, the same way he always had. It's inspired Williams to take those traits from his dad and implement them when the toughest battles – battling the winter wind in meaningful games – take place.
"Even with his knees being swollen or feet being swollen, he would get up and walk I would say three or four miles to work," Williams said. "And this was times where he could have called and had people come pick him up or even called off of work, you know? But him being the person he is, he didn't want to ask anybody for anything. He always handled his business no matter what his health was or whether he was ailing or whether he could barely walk.
"He always found a way to handle his business. I think I should go about it the same way."