For the first time in his decade-long NFL career, Trent Williams, now with the San Francisco 49ers, will stand on the opposite sideline for a Washington Football Team game when the two teams clash on Sunday.
Williams was traded to San Francisco in April, putting the finishing touches on what was a messy divorce in Washington, one where the left tackle didn't play a snap his final season with the team.
Speaking with local media on Thursday, Williams was asked to reflect on his time with Washington and if being in the team's Ring of Fame mattered to him.
"It did at one point," Williams said. "It is what it is now. If they feel like I deserve it, then I'll be there."
Here's the simple truth: Trent Williams deserves to be in the Washington Football Team's Ring of Fame.
We can begin with his resume, which alone should get him into the Ring of Fame unquestioned.
No. 71 suited up for the Burgundy and Gold for nine years. Seven of those ended with trips to the Pro Bowl. Only two players in franchise history -- Charley Taylor and Chris Hanburger -- made more. To put it into perspective, Williams made as many Pro Bowls with Washington as Darrell Green did.
Williams never was selected to an All-Pro team, but he was always on the shortlist of best left tackles in the NFL. From the time they drafted Williams fourth overall in 2010 until he left, Washington had a franchise left tackle.
But, as Williams alluded to in his media session on Thursday, what can't be forgotten about the left tackle's tenure in Washington was his leadership. In eight of the nine seasons the tackle played for the Football Team, he was named one of the franchise's team captains.
There's a reason why that was the case, too. Not only was Williams one of, if not the best player on Washington, but he was loved and respected by his teammates.
Throughout his time in Washington, Williams dealt with a plethora of injuries, some that would sideline many players for weeks. But whether it was a thigh injury or a knee ailment, Williams often played through those prognoses, leaving it all on the field for his team.
That's part of the reason why when Williams found out about the medical mishap last year, he lost trust in the medical staff. It's understandable why Williams was unhappy when he found out he had cancer that was misdiagnosed for five-plus years. If he was going to lay his body out on the line for the organization, shouldn't he at least be able to get the best care possible in return?
Of course, there are those who feel how Williams' time in Washington ended should prevent him from going in the franchise's Ring of Fame. Some feel that he betrayed the team or that he forced his way out of what they deemed a fixable situation.
If Williams had betrayed the team, though, wouldn't his teammates have turned on him? Wouldn't at least one of them have spoken publicly about how they were disappointed in him?
That never happened.
Williams still has plenty of love for his former teammates and watches them as much as he can. He remains close with several players in Washington's locker room, specifically his former O-line mates in Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier. Heck, he even sent Moses a signed jersey of his earlier this year.
"There's no ill will towards Washington," Williams said. "Just like I love those guys in this locker room, I had that same bond with those guys in that locker room for the last 10 years. I'm just happy to see those guys."
If Williams had chosen to return to Washington earlier this year, he would have been embraced with open arms. Fans would have been quick to forgive him for sitting out the 2019 season and act like it never happened.
After speaking with Ron Rivera about potentially returning shortly after the head coach was hired, Williams simply felt that they were on two different pages. That's perfectly OK. Even if he did return, who knows what would have happened, especially with Williams entering the last year of his contract?
For several years, Williams was one of a few bright spots in otherwise dark years in the franchise's history. For nearly a decade, the tackle put his body on the line for a team even he knew had little chance of winning.
After nine seasons, Williams left Washington as one of the franchise's best players of all-time. He deserves to be rewarded for it, regardless of how messy the ending may have been.