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Trent Williams was prepared to play before NFI placement

Last year was a lost one for Trent Williams. He underwent surgery to remove a cancerous growth from his scalp, refused to report to the Redskins for months after claiming he was misdiagnosed, and ultimately demanded a trade or new contract after sitting out the entire season.

While his departure from Washington long seemed inevitable, and was finally executed in April via trade to the 49ers, it was perhaps avoidable. In the next episode of the RapSheet and Friends podcast, set to debut Tuesday, the Pro Bowl left tackle asserted he was genuinely willing to play for the Redskins in 2019.

Williams reported to the team after the October trade deadline, only to fail his physical because of discomfort with his helmet. He told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that he was waiting for a new helmet to arrive last November when the Redskins unexpectedly placed him on the reserve/non-football injury list, officially ending his season.

"The competitive juices started to flow, so I was really prepared to make my return last year," Williams said. "I know all of the things that had went on and just being in that facility, being around teammates, being around the guys you fought with and bled with for some many years. It was almost impossible for me to fight the urge not to just want to get back on the field. I was literally waiting on my new helmet to come in. I was getting ready to kind of gear up and it was going to be somewhat of a surprise to some, but I think for the people who know me best they know how competitive I am. ...

"I was under the impression my new helmet was coming in that Tuesday, and then I was put on the NFI that Saturday, I believe, or Friday, I don't remember. I was put on NFI right before I could even get the helmet to get back out there. It was a bummer but figured it was just how it was supposed to work out."

The Redskins placed Williams on NFI on Nov. 7, a week after he finally reported for the season following nine missed games. It was a move that saved Washington $6 million in salary but likely sealed its fate with the seven-time Pro Bowler. Williams still has one year remaining on his contract, which Rapoport reported the 49ers are restructuring so the 31-year-old lineman earns some money upfront after going unpaid in 2019.

That should quiet talk of him holding out for a new deal. His next pact will be determined by how he plays for his new team, after not doing so at all for 20 months.

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