Trent Williams never got to sleep Thursday night as he waited to hear from his agent. The No. 4 overall pick in the draft had already missed one day of Washington Redskins training camp and wanted to be a holdout no longer.
At 4:30 a.m. Friday, the call came. Williams would get a six-year, $60 million contract that includes $36.75 million in guaranteed money. The team’s new starting left tackle needed to be at Redskins Park by 6 a.m. to sign the deal and suit up for the 8:30 a.m. practice.
By the team the 2 1/2-hour workout was done, Williams was running purely on adrenaline.
”I’m going to try to get me a nice little nap here in a couple of minutes,” he said.
Williams became the first top-five draft pick to report to camp in a year in which first-rounders have been especially slow to sign. He was determined to have a deal done quickly, even changing agents at one point because he wanted a representative who would get him to camp on time – or close to it.
”If I’m going to be plugged in at a key position, I can’t be out too many days,” Williams said. ”This is a new offense, and we need chemistry.”
Williams worked with the starting unit right away, taking the spot held for much of the past decade by retired six-time Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels. Williams was taken aback by the speed of NFL practices when he came to minicamp in the spring, but this time he was more in the flow.
”I didn’t get off to a slow start like I did last time,” he said. ”I realize, hey, they’re paying me a nice bit of change. I can’t be no little rookie trying to get things together.”
Perhaps because of his lack of sleep, Williams created new metaphors by botching his cliches. He said he had been ”nipping at the bit” to get to camp and credited teammate Brian Orakpo for giving advice on ”the loopholes that all rookies face.”
Williams said he’s going to buy a car and a house and try to save the rest of the money, although he realizes the veterans will run up the traditional mammoth restaurant bill in his name at some point during training camp.
He also had no qualms about toting veterans’ gear off the field after practice. Fellow first-round pick Dez Bryant caused a stir at Dallas Cowboys camp earlier this week when he refused to carry Roy Williams’ shoulder pads.
”I understand everybody’s a rookie one day,” Trent Williams said. ”You’ve got to pay your rookie dues. It could be a lot worse than carrying shoulder pads.”