The seven-time Pro Bowler previously missed mandatory minicamp over what Gruden described as a frustration with the team’s medical staff, though two people with knowledge of his thinking recently told The Washington Post that his problems with the organization go deeper. This month, Williams decided to hold out of training camp and demanded the team trade him or give him a raise.
The organization is levying fines — the collective bargaining agreement stipulates teams can fine players $40,000 per no-show day — and hoping to bleed Williams financially and force him back. That means, as of Saturday afternoon, the 31-year-old could owe the Redskins as much as $320,000.
Gruden also deflected on whether team president Bruce Allen had visited Williams since camp started — “You’ll have to Bruce that one now, won’t you?” — and if Williams might be healthy enough to practice if he arrived Sunday.
“I don’t know yet,” Gruden said. “I don’t know where he is. I haven’t seen him, and the trainers haven’t seen him in a little bit of time. I don’t know the answer to that one.”
One of the key reasons Williams is in this situation is because he did not like the way the team’s medical staff handled a growth on his head last season, which turned into a health scare. A person with knowledge of the Redskins’ thinking told The Post that Williams asked to be traded June 1. When Washington declined, he asked for more money, and the team declined again. Since then, the two sides have been at loggerheads.
This would be Williams’s fourth season on his five-year, $66 million deal, though his base salary isn’t guaranteed next season. Last week, the fallout of Williams’ holdout started taking shape. The team executed what looks like a contingency plan, signing veteran tackle Donald Penn, with fans divided on whether to accommodate Williams or ditch him.
For his part, Gruden wants Williams here. And if he harbors any doubts about the future of his blind-side tackle, he did not betray them.
"I’m still optimistic, very optimistic,” he said.
What makes you optimistic?
“That will be the last Trent question I get today,” he said, his hands on the podium but his body already angled toward the door. “Thank you very much.”