Football, not sleep, was on his mind all night. So Trent Williams stayed awake, waiting for the call that finally came at 4:30 a.m. And about 90 minutes later, he was at Redskins Park waiting for his first official practice.
“I didn’t have an ounce of sleep,” he said.
Williams, the fourth overall pick in the draft, signed his contract – a six-year deal with $36.75 million guaranteed -- Friday morning. He participated in the practice, working with the first team offense at left tackle.
“It was a huge relief,” said Williams, who had a dollar sign among his many tattoos on his body. “I got some financial security and I finally got that part out of the way and I can play football.”
That’s what the Redskins want as well. Williams is expected to not only solidify the left side, but be an important building block for the future. His first practice was a mixture of promise and rust. He showed the athleticism the coaches loved; being able to block one defender then hustle downfield to block another. But he also had some issues with linebacker Brian Orakpo.
Still, the good outweighed the bad on his first day.
"He's a phenomenal tackle. I have been going against him nearly every day and he keeps getting better. He has such explosive feet and power," Orakpo said. "When he left Texas, I knew he was going to be a force to be reckoned with."
Williams wanted to be in camp as soon as possible and ended up missing only one practice.
“I’m still a young guy learning the offense,” he said. “If I’m going to be plugged in learning a new position I can’t be out too many days. This is a new offense and we need chemistry. If I’m not here, it’s hard to build chemistry.
“I was pretty confident they would get it done by the second day. There was always that thought in the back of the head like, what if this thing stalls out and I’m missing three or four days. So I was on eggshells.”
Naturally, Williams endured the typical rookie day: jokes about buying everyone dinner; carrying pads and helmets from the field to the locker room. But he was nonplussed by it all and ready to contribute.
“I’ve been encouraged by the way he’s worked in our offseason conditioning program and the way he’s played left tackle,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “He’ll do a lot of great things in the near future.”