Fans of the Washington Redskins were dealt a shock today when they found out that fan-favorite and All-Pro offensive tackle, Trent Williams has been suspended for four games — without pay — for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. The suspension goes into effect immediately.
The team released a statement not long after the first report went viral and it read:
“Today, Trent Williams was suspended by the NFL under the terms of the Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse for the next four games. We met with Trent today to discuss this unfortunate news. Per the terms of the Policy, Trent will be permitted to participate in team meetings and work out at the Redskins’ facilities throughout this time. The Redskins are counting on Trent to help our team when he returns from suspension. Our focus will now turn to the Minnesota Vikings after our bye this upcoming weekend. Any questions related to this matter should be directed to the NFL or NFLPA.”
Williams will be eligible to return to the field Dec. 5, the day after team travels to Arizona to play the Cardinals.
The strange twist on the suspension is that it may not be a positive test result but rather a missed test that has caused the penalty to Williams.
2 people familiar with the situation say that Williams MISSED a test, and that's why he was suspended four games.
— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) November 1, 2016
Some slightly good news for the team is that the 2010 first-round draft pick will be allowed to both work out and attend meetings at the facility during the deferment from game play so he will, at least, will be involved with his coaches and teammates throughout the ordeal.
The loss of the team captain is terrible news for the organization.
Recently given a top grade of 87.8 by Pro Football Focus for his play against the Philadelphia Eagles really good defense, the analytic website wrote: “Rarely does a tackle inflict fear in opposing defenses, but Williams is a special player.”
While the four-time Pro Bowler is suspended, second-year player Ty Nsekhe could take his spot along the offensive line. Nsekhe is highly regarded by Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan and the coaching staff. It will be interesting to see if the offensive production drops off at all.
“Ty, in my personal opinion, he would start on over half the teams in the league at left or right tackle,” McCloughan said back in August during a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview. “And he’s our third right now. And he started two games last year, and one was Dallas, and he locked [former Dallas Cowboys DE Greg] Hardy down bigger than life. Threw him out there, it was like ‘OK, wow, what’s going to happen?’ But no… he’s a football player.”
Last August Williams signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension with the Redskins. According to OverTheCap.com, this is the highest average annual salary among offensive linemen in the NFL ($13.2 million).