Wizards

Drug test doesn't define Redskins' Trent Williams

Drug test doesn't define Redskins' Trent Williams

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) The latest in a long line of Washington Redskins knuckleheads.

That was Trent Williams a year ago, after he was suspended for four games by the NFL for testing positive multiple times for marijuana. He was a first-round pick gone bad, fitting right in the tradition of a franchise that's seen far too much off-the-field misbehavior in recent years.

But Williams did something a lot of miscreants don't do. He owned up to his mistake, didn't hide in a shell of denial or blame his problems on others. The third-year left tackle did not want to be remembered as a dope-head, and he set his sights on having his name associated with nicer words.

Pro Bowl left tackle, for example.

``I bust my butt all offseason with that on my mind, and it fueled my fire a lot of days,'' Williams said. ``And to be able to come out and perform with the best in the league and be noted as a Pro Bowl guy, it'd just mean that all my hard work, it just wasn't (whistling) in the wind. That accolade would just kind of let people know how far I've come and how far I'm matured and the type of player I've become. That's what I really want to be known for.

``I don't want to be known for the guy who failed multiple drug tests. That is me, in a sense. It did happen. I embrace that wholeheartedly. That happened, but I have an opportunity to change it, and that's what I want to do.''

Coach Mike Shanahan last week said that Williams is having a Pro Bowl season, although coaches naturally push any player who's doing well. If Williams is going to make it, he'll probably need disproportionate support from the coaches and players in the voting because his reputation hasn't been rehabilitated fully among some fans.

``Obviously they haven't really heard my name with a positive sense in the years before this,'' he said.

It works in Williams' favor that the Redskins (8-6) are winning and lead the NFL in yards rushing, and that he benefits from fame-by-association as the player who protects the blind side of uber-popular quarterback Robert Griffin III.

Also, everyone loves a player who plays hurt, and Williams has been doing just that since Thanksgiving Day, when he collided with teammate Kory Lichtensteiger early in the win over the Dallas Cowboys. The injury is often cited as a ``deep thigh bruise'' in the left leg, but that tells only part of the story.

Williams said the impact with Lichtensteiger left a pool of blood ``about five or six inches long, three or four inches wide'' coagulating between layers of muscles.

``They couldn't drain it. It was too deep,'' Williams said. ``So there was nothing I could do but play through the pain.''

Williams estimated that he's been playing at about 70 percent effectiveness from a physical standpoint in the three games since. He said a similar injury his rookie year would have landed him on injured reserve because he wouldn't have been able to compensate by playing smarter.

``It slows me down, definitely,'' Williams said. ``I have to rely more on my coaching and technique, other than just trying to use athletic ability to go out and maul guys.''

Williams' athleticism has never been in question. It's why he was Shanahan's first draft pick as Redskins coach, taken No. 4 overall out of Oklahoma in 2009.

``The question was work ethic,'' Shanahan said. ``When's he going to get to the next level? I've seen that maturity since he's been here, learning how to be a pro, learning how to be accountable, learning how to lead, different things that you're hoping your guys are going to do.''

Teammates saw a new Trent Williams during the offseason program and at training camp, then rewarded him by electing him to be a team captain on offense. Outsiders might have wondered about the symbolism of such a move, coming so soon after the suspension, but the players saw someone who had moved on from his troubles.

``Trent's stepped up his level of commitment to the team,'' Lichtensteiger said. ``To be elected captain after an incident like that says a lot about how we feel about him as a player, as a leader on this team. It's been a really good year for him, both on the field and off the field in the locker room.''

---

Follow Joseph White on Twitter:http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

2020 NBA Trade Deadline Tracker: Latest news, reports and rumors

2020 NBA Trade Deadline Tracker: Latest news, reports and rumors

Just beyond midway through the NBA season, the NBA trade deadline has come into view. Several teams will get the opportunity to go all-in on this season while others will have the opportunity to sell-off assets and re-tool for the future. 

With this NBA season as open as ever, this could be the lone chance for a team to attempt to make a push. 

The Miami Heat are all of a sudden contenders and maybe one or two pieces away from playing late into the playoffs. While they have a decent group of young players, their immediate future could be in question. They're not the only ones as the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets are competing for the top spots in the Western Conference as well. 

On the flip side, there are teams with big contracts not going anywhere. Kevin Love, paired with his discontent in Cleveland, is likely on the market. Andre Drummond is one of the most dominant post players in the game, but he is making $27 million on a team that is not making the playoffs and are aging quickly. And there is Andre Iguodala sitting in Memphis, doing nothing. 

Every year the NBA Trade Deadline never fails to disappoint. More often than not, it doesn't push a team over the edge to a championship, but it sure is fun for the rest of us. 

This year, the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline is Thursday, June 6 at 3:00 p.m. ET.

NBA Deadline Tracker: 

Jan. 21 - After initially be open to several trade options, the Pelicans have "pulled back in their trade talks among all of their players." New Orleans is waiting to see how Zion Williamson bolsters their team that is still in the playoff picture, according to Adrian Wojnarowski

Jan. 20 - The Lakers and 76ers have expressed interest in trading for current Detroit Piston and former league MVP Derrick Rose, Chris Haynes reports.

Jan. 18 - The Portland Trail Blazers trade Kent Bazemore, Anthony  Tolliver and two second-round draft picks to the Sacramento Kings for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Jan. 16 - Moving Jeff Teague may have been the first domino for the Timberwolves. Minnesota is now trying to acquire D'Angelo Russell from the Warriors to fill in his space, according to The Athletic.

Jan. 16 - Jeff Teague is leaving the Minnesota Timberwolves after being traded to the Atlanta Hawks. He and Treveon Graham head to Atlanta as Allen Crabbe goes to Minnesota, according to Adrian Wojnarowski

Quick Links

Emma Meesseman posts an incredibly efficient game in the Euroleague, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes

Emma Meesseman posts an incredibly efficient game in the Euroleague, scoring 20 points in 21 minutes

Emma Meesseman is a walking bucket. She proved it in the WNBA Finals and is continuing to score in bunches in the EuroLeague. 

Playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg, Meesseman went off again. Shooting an incredible 9-for-11 from the field (82%), she posted 20 points in 21 minutes during their win over ZVVZ USK Praha.

Just take a glimpse of Meesseman's highlights from that game. She got her shot to go from every corner of the court. 

The win moved UMMC Ekaterinburg (10-1) to the top of Pool A of the EuroLeague and Meesseman has been a huge part of it. Throughout the season, she's averaged 15 points, shooting 67% from the field and 64% from 3-point range. 

Meesseman just recently won the WNBA Finals MVP award for the Washington Mystics last season. In the WNBA Finals, she posted nearly 18 points a game coming off the bench to lead the team. 

Other WNBA stars Courtney Vandersloot, Brittney Griner and Jonquel Jones also play with Meesseman on the same team. 

MORE MYSTICS NEWS: