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The story behind Trent "Silverback" Williams

History will note that the fourth pick of last night’s draft was Trent “Silverback” Williams.

The moment was a surprise since we can’t remember a nickname ever coming out of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s lips, much less one already accounted for.

Trent Williams explained how the announcement came about to Rick Maese of the Washington Post.  (Thanks to Brian McCarthy for the heads up.)

The nickname was given to Williams by his teammates in college because Williams is a “beast” on the field.  Williams mentioned it to Goodell the other day.

“We had a meeting with him in the office and I was just joking around
with him. It was kind of quiet and I just wanted to throw a little joke
in. He asked me, did I want him to do it? I said, ‘Go ahead.’ I really
didn’t think he would.”

We liked it.  There’s no reason why the reading of picks should be a solemn occasion. 

Pete Rozelle, always cracking up at the reaction of Jets and Giants fans, knew that well.

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76 Responses to “The story behind Trent "Silverback" Williams”
  1. BleedGreen says: Apr 23, 2010 11:49 AM

    I actually thought it was kind of racist… being that a silverback is a type of gorilla/ape.

  2. robert ethan says: Apr 23, 2010 11:50 AM

    Does he know they’re pretty well extinct? The world had moved on.

  3. NagaSwan says: Apr 23, 2010 11:52 AM

    Let’s just hope he beats up less women than the other Silverback.

  4. Phreakin says: Apr 23, 2010 11:53 AM

    It was a wtf/funny moment but I hope it doesn’t become a trend. I don’t wanna here something like:
    With the 1st pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Mike “Big Cash Money” Johnson.

  5. Mean D says: Apr 23, 2010 11:53 AM

    Where’s Al Sharpton? That was clearly racist!

  6. fivetwos says: Apr 23, 2010 11:54 AM

    I’ve actually heard that term used as a racial slur, and my jaw dropped when I heard that, but I hang out with degenerates, so nevermind.

  7. The Hogster says: Apr 23, 2010 11:55 AM

    Washington could use a beast on the O Line. Hopefully he becomes a beast in the weight room and film room too. Demarcus Ware, and Justin Tuck are “Beasts” too.

  8. stiller43 says: Apr 23, 2010 11:57 AM

    I wish he went to the Steelers.
    Maybe, just maybe, Mr. Rooney would have clamored that we couldn’t have two “silverbacks” (James Harrison) and…they could have nicknamed him Coco or something…let him wear double zero on his jersey.
    Jerry: “Double zero?”
    George: “It’s ‘ooh,’ as in ‘ooh ooh, ahh ahh.’”

  9. #17AffirmativeActionQB says: Apr 23, 2010 11:59 AM

    Uh Greg, history will actually note that the 4th overall pick of last night’s draft was Trent “Silverback” Williams.

  10. NagaSwan says: Apr 23, 2010 11:59 AM

    I think everything is racist. Bulworth was right. Same race parents should be outlawed! Nothing but mutts from here on!

  11. Rick Rocks Fasa says: Apr 23, 2010 11:59 AM

    4th overall pick doofus.

  12. dabarber says: Apr 23, 2010 12:00 PM

    Yeah, kinda racist.
    But as long as the Silverback doesnt mind neither do I.
    Zing!

  13. Brian says: Apr 23, 2010 12:00 PM

    “racist”. What an idiotic thing to say.
    I applaud Goodell for letting his guard down and bringing some fun to the festivities.

  14. AdamEagle5 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:00 PM

    not everything is racist lol just stop it

  15. rodstiffington says: Apr 23, 2010 12:01 PM

    Was I the only one who saw Goodell wearing a white hood and burning a cross when he said “Silverback”?

  16. WarrenMoonGOAT says: Apr 23, 2010 12:01 PM

    BleedGreen says:
    April 23, 2010 11:49 AM
    I actually thought it was kind of racist… being that a silverback is a type of gorilla/ape.
    ah man u just unleashed the hounds

  17. Football says: Apr 23, 2010 12:02 PM

    Only a racist would think that was racist.

  18. Striff5281 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:03 PM

    please tell me you are kidding BleedGreen.

  19. leatherneck says: Apr 23, 2010 12:03 PM

    It’s not racist. All human beings of every race are apes. We are all descended from apes.
    What would be funny is if Goodell’s nickname became “Grape Ape.”

  20. Dapollock says: Apr 23, 2010 12:04 PM

    If only this happened a few years eariler… With the 11th pick of the 2004 draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Ben “Sliverdik” Roethlisberger.

  21. Latch-Key Kid says: Apr 23, 2010 12:04 PM

    Whereas when I heard it, I immediately assumed it was because of the very reason given by Williams himself. That it was given to him because he was a big, bad, badass. Dang, I really need to work on my oversensitivity to anything that could ever possibly have any racial aspect to it.

  22. DonTerrelli says: Apr 23, 2010 12:04 PM

    and it’s already used by James Harrison on the Steelers

  23. tre_fizzle says: Apr 23, 2010 12:04 PM

    although now we’ll have nicknames every year, and it will be like a boxing ring announcer.

  24. ICEWALKER says: Apr 23, 2010 12:04 PM

    Yep. I thought it was race-based as well.
    I guess first impressions don’t mean much.
    Still, I don’t think I’ve heard the end of this. Some group will be up in arms about it.

  25. JoeSchmoe says: Apr 23, 2010 12:05 PM

    Oh yes, we really need to find out who these teammates were that gave him this nickname. Was it Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing? Silverback… it must be RACISM!!! Call the dogs out! It’s time for a witch hunt!
    A silverback is just a bad ass gorilla. Yes, the connotation is there to race-ophobes, but if the guy is ok with the nickname, why shouldn’t we all be? It’s racist to make every little thing into a race issue.

  26. BigMikeSkinsFan says: Apr 23, 2010 12:05 PM

    im sure some idiots will try to make it about race but i am glad the commish showed he has a sense of humor. we already know he is no nonsense so to see him cut loose even just a little was refreshing.

  27. CurseofBoJackson says: Apr 23, 2010 12:06 PM

    Cue the race baiters.

  28. trickbunny says: Apr 23, 2010 12:08 PM

    Funny- African Amercians are (rightfully) upset to be compared with gorillas… unless they name *themselves* after one. Then it’s ok, right?
    (eyes rolling)

  29. downsouth49er says: Apr 23, 2010 12:09 PM

    BleedGreen shut up…I’m black and nothing about that was racist to me, get a life

  30. buffobeel says: Apr 23, 2010 12:10 PM

    An ape comment, although, could be considered racist, is also referred to the prototypical o-lineman as well. O-line coaches believe that short stocky legs, straight back, long arms, and great side to side shuffle are ideal qualities to play tackle; the exact qualities of the great ‘silverbacks’. Any one with football sense would know that this was meant as a great compliment to his skill set, not a racist comment!

  31. DeathStar says: Apr 23, 2010 12:11 PM

    Why are people always so quick to assume the worst and turn things in to a racial issue.
    The kid likes the nickname and his buddies in college gave it to him.
    I was actaully impressed with how Goodell interacted with the players when all we ever read about is when he disciplines players. Its nice to see a positive for a change.
    Even as a Cowboys fan I wish the best of luck to Silverback Williams and all these young men. They are in great position to make our world a better place.

  32. mike honcho says: Apr 23, 2010 12:12 PM

    @bleedgreen, yup, because i’m sure goodell would’ve thrown in this nickname without some previous discussion with williams, and only black people evolved from apes, right?

  33. Hosstyle In Tampa says: Apr 23, 2010 12:12 PM

    It definitely raised my eyebrows, then cracked me up….

  34. BlueMooner says: Apr 23, 2010 12:12 PM

    Is Roger making it up? He isn’t a silverback? Could of fooled me

  35. SolidMarine says: Apr 23, 2010 12:12 PM

    Here come the race baiting liberals…

  36. champ1315 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:13 PM

    BleedGreen… you are an idiot. The only people that still associate gorillas and apes with black people this day and age are dumbasses like you.

  37. Popeye says: Apr 23, 2010 12:15 PM

    Racist…no doubt……..I am AA and I think its totally racist.

  38. Desean Maclin 1018 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:16 PM

    Bleedgreen, quit bringing race into play, it was his nickname and he asked to be called it…I love how people bring race into play every time

  39. ceetown22 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:22 PM

    joeschmoe
    Was it Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing?
    ___________________________________________
    well, seeing as they said TEAMMATES and Cushing and Matthews played at USC…. I doubt they gave him the nickname… dumb@ss – it’s called common sense, you have it, use it!
    and I’m not even racist…. but I’m telling you, someone is going to get pissed about always typing on a WHITE backgroung… PFT should do something like change it to purple so it doesn’t offend anyone…
    HAIL SKINS!

  40. Nips Johnson says: Apr 23, 2010 12:24 PM

    To anybody that had any thoughts of racism when this was said.. you might be a racist. Take some advice from Santonio Holmes and go kill yourself.

  41. emoser says: Apr 23, 2010 12:26 PM

    “# BleedGreen says: April 23, 2010 11:49 AM
    I actually thought it was kind of racist… being that a silverback is a type of gorilla/ape.”
    It’s racist to think it’s racist. He’s the one who provided the nickname and he made no mention of race being a factor in why he has it. You made the connection between black people and monkeys in your own head.

  42. mbbrazi says: Apr 23, 2010 12:27 PM

    Unbelievable amount of perceptions of being racist. Racist is when you’re black and you can say anything you want about white folks and expect white folks to sit there and be a good sport about it and take it. But if you say the same thing in reference to a black person it’s racism and everything is everybody else’s fault. I am half black and half mexican and I’m like a giant watermelon on a piket fence, I’ve been called white names and black names, walk a mile in my shoes or better yet-stop whinning and just grow up.

  43. A.B. Heemoth says: Apr 23, 2010 12:27 PM

    I wonder if anyone might find this racist?
    Guess it’s good thing Goodell made no mention of Ben “Shut up and blow me” Roethlisberger.

  44. buzmeg says: Apr 23, 2010 12:28 PM

    Can’t wait until some black dude has the nickname “king” and his last name is Kong.
    It will go something like this: With the 5th pick in the 2020 draft the Harlem Klanners select Kevin “King” Kong.
    Lighten up folks!

  45. ceetown22 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:31 PM

    # Popeye says: April 23, 2010 12:15 PM
    Racist…no doubt……..I am AA and I think its totally racist.
    ________________________________________
    an Alcoholic Anonymous? but seriously… I think it’s racist you call yourself POPEYE… because my pop only has one eye and popeye was white and ate spinach…. and I’m white and I totally think it’s racist.
    btw – aren’t you pissed that you have to type into a WHITE background all of the time?… total bs right?
    get a FU(KING GRIP man
    HAIL SKINS!

  46. answer3 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:32 PM

    NagaSwan says:
    April 23, 2010 11:59 AM
    I think everything is racist. Bulworth was right. Same race parents should be outlawed! Nothing but mutts from here on!
    ..thats funny, ive always said we should all just f**k until we are all the same color.. haha

  47. MotorCityKitties says: Apr 23, 2010 12:35 PM

    So Williams told Goodell about the nickname and asked him to announce him with it sooooo.. Goodell is a racist. Of course, logically. Why are people so effing stupid?

  48. answer3 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:39 PM

    Racist?!!!? Really?? All this talk just goes to show how far we HAVEN’T come as a people. Its just sad.

  49. Reggie says: Apr 23, 2010 12:41 PM

    At least it’s an original nickname… kinda. Better than something like T-Will or T-Dub or the stuff that everyone qualifies as a “nickname” nowadays.
    And I would hope that Goodell isn’t trying to be racist in introducing a 270 pound black man.

  50. Chiefs2010 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:43 PM

    I thought nothing of it – especially being racist. 2010 folks, grow up.
    Silverback is also the nickname of Lamar Woodley, or one of the other Steeler outside backers..

  51. MagicMan407 says: Apr 23, 2010 12:44 PM

    Yeah, so it sound’s from some comments people evolved from apes? Thier were several types of apes and white people are from albino apes. Right? Or am I way off? lol

  52. lurch's nyquil says: Apr 23, 2010 12:46 PM

    Exactly right, only a racist would think it is racist. Why can the nick name silverback just mean he is big and strong and thats it…… The political correctness makes me want to vomit.

  53. Stillerz says: Apr 23, 2010 12:58 PM

    Goodell announced Evander “Ziggy” Hood last year, a nickname given to him by his grandmother.
    Do you guys even research your reports? It seems like if its not taken directly from someone Twitter account it’s always inaccurate.

  54. stpetejohnny says: Apr 23, 2010 1:02 PM

    Okay, all of you shut up with this nonsense.
    Let’s talk about if Williams can play!
    I’m thinking he will be a serviceable tackle but never an All Pro.
    (and I do know that the silverback comment is what started this post)

  55. BleedGreen says: Apr 23, 2010 1:04 PM

    Desean Maclin 1018 says:
    April 23, 2010 12:16 PM
    Bleedgreen, quit bringing race into play, it was his nickname and he asked to be called it…I love how people bring race into play every time
    _______________________________
    Lets be clear, I am not offended by it in the least, especially if the guy himself isn’t. I’m as white as can be, and I throw out racial stereotypes more often than I probably should, almost always in a joking form or fashion, but what I am saying is, it can be construed as racist if someone wants to find something to be offended by.

  56. War_Paint says: Apr 23, 2010 1:05 PM

    # Popeye says: April 23, 2010 12:15 PM
    Racist…no doubt……..I am AA and I think its totally racist.
    ____________________________________
    Oh please, this race pimpin crutch never got anybody anywhere. I’m sure you have a million more important things to worry about. Just shut up.

  57. Huskersrule says: Apr 23, 2010 1:06 PM

    What’s next Demetrus “watermelon ” Jones or Michael “Fried Chicken” Johnson, maybe even Jim “spearchucker” Jones? It wasn’t racist because it was his nick name. However if blacks want to put these words to bed they need to stop using them themselves.

  58. chuck satan says: Apr 23, 2010 1:08 PM

    Would they have announced his nickname if it was “blue gum”?

  59. MurderCapital#1 says: Apr 23, 2010 1:11 PM

    I can only dream of the day the Redskins figure out a way to employ real Silverbacks on the field. They are crazy strong and would be killing fools!!!!
    Side note:
    As a diehard Skins fan I also always search for Natives that are offended by the name “Redskins” and have yet to find one. Except one that was a Cowboys fan and hammered drunk. Most think its funny that I even ask… guess that should be put to sleep as well.

  60. Sportnman says: Apr 23, 2010 1:13 PM

    I’m glad I am not the ony person who sees this as just a tad bit racisit. Trust me, I work with clowns who would think this to be humourous rather than alarming!

  61. Greenantz says: Apr 23, 2010 1:13 PM

    BleedGreen Get a life looser.
    rodstiffington – Yes, you were the only one.
    Mean D – obiously you were being sarcastic.
    Popeye – you need to attend AA (Anglo-American) ( A-hole- American)
    It is amazing how much you douche bags have to beg for a race card. +
    Hey leatherneck, Humans are not Apes. Apes are Apes.
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
    Class: Mammalia
    Order: Primates
    Family: Hominidae
    Subfamily: Homininae (Apes are in this family)
    Tribe: Hominini
    Genus: Homo
    APES:
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Phylum: Chordata
    Class: Mammalia
    Order: Primates
    Suborder: Haplorrhini
    Parvorder: Catarrhini
    Superfamily: Hominoidea

  62. homercles82 says: Apr 23, 2010 1:13 PM

    BleedGreen says:
    April 23, 2010 11:49 AM
    I actually thought it was kind of racist… being that a silverback is a type of gorilla/ape.
    _____________________________
    It is not racist if they call themselves that!

  63. koast says: Apr 23, 2010 1:18 PM

    I think as much “No Fun League” stuff that comes out, its nice to see the human side of the league and its commissioner.
    I thought Goddell was very personable with the crowd all evening….I know I had a GREAT time watching from home.

  64. skf727 says: Apr 23, 2010 1:18 PM

    Goodell is just getting warmed up- Today he is gonna unleash
    Toby “Wonder Bread” Gerhart
    Sergio “Amazon” Kindle
    and Jimmy “You must really suck if Tebow got drafted before you did” Clausen

  65. ceetown22 says: Apr 23, 2010 1:19 PM

    # Stillerz says: April 23, 2010 12:58 PM
    Goodell announced Evander “Ziggy” Hood last year, a nickname given to him by his grandmother.
    Do you guys even research your reports? It seems like if its not taken directly from someone Twitter account it’s always inaccurate.
    ______________________________________________
    also didn’t he say PACMAN in 05 when the Titans took him? real name Adam Jones, his nickname is pacman, but maybe it should be Adam “felonious assault” Jones hahaha
    HAIL SKINS!

  66. cowboys1 says: Apr 23, 2010 1:26 PM

    it seems like the people involved had a good time with it so who gives a shit what everyone else thinks…………..move on losers!!!!!

  67. Teblow Fever! says: Apr 23, 2010 1:26 PM

    I thought NBA coach Paul Silas used the “Silverback” nickname?

  68. FAS says: Apr 23, 2010 1:29 PM

    “If you are looking to be offended, anything can offend.”

  69. Andy says: Apr 23, 2010 1:32 PM

    I resented that because my father is a Silverback, therefore I am a Silverback!
    There is going to be some consequences and repacussions!
    First though I’ve got to go spill some hot coffey on my lap at MacDonalds.

  70. ceetown22 says: Apr 23, 2010 1:34 PM

    too bad my post was blocked around 12:20 or so, I had some choice words for bleed green… now he’s backing away from his comment… go figure…
    Trent Williams… very athletic, not the strongest guy, played RT 2years played LT 1 year… do we resign LJones to play LT and start ‘silverback’ @ RT and use Heyer as backup for both tackle positions… then once TWilliams gets acclimated slide him over to LT?
    I think that they want MWilliams to start at RG – I freakin hope not… maybe AHicks is better? I’m not sure I don’t know too much about him….
    I think we(skins) need to take another O lineman with the 4th rounder, but if one of the QBs is still there I think they do that and cut CBrennan (I hope not, I love the guy) or maybe WR in the 4th?
    not sure… but please with the racist bs… the debates as to what is racist, who is racist, etc… make it stop… 80% of these comments are about silverback being racist… (honestly the first thing I thought of was the F(r)aiders) 20% about football, redskins, twilliams… make it stop… use common sense (most of america has forgotten that they have common sense – they think they can just google it – hahaha)
    HAIL SKINS!

  71. jasncondit says: Apr 23, 2010 1:55 PM

    It’s all context. If you’re saying he’s a Silverback because you want to say he’s not human then you’re an AH Racist. But if you’re saying he’s a Silverback because he’s bad ass strong then why would anyone have a problem with it? I’m white if a black man asked me what I meant by it I would tell him it means you’re bad ass strong. And I’m sure he wouldn’t have a problem with it. It’s all in tone. Just like the word boy. If I say to my friend who’s black that he’s my boy and I’m his boy. It means friends, or brother. But if I’m degrading him in a mean tone then ya it’s Racist. Silverback and Boy in the positive tone would only be used around friends. I’m sure James Harrison wouldn’t want me (someone he doesn’t know) calling him Silverback unless he’s asked the fans to do that. It’s for inside friends only and the tone of your words.

  72. Vegas DogPound says: Apr 23, 2010 2:02 PM

    The player calls himself that and wanted the commissioner to say it so it shouldn”t bother anyone.
    Thought it was hilarious, when my brother told me about it since I had made the comparison before!! Too funny!!!

  73. stiller43 says: Apr 23, 2010 2:32 PM

    leatherneck,
    You’re an idiot.

  74. chuck satan says: Apr 23, 2010 2:40 PM

    But remember a few years back some college coach got in trouble for saying to his guys to go out and play like a bunhc of mandingos? Or howard cosell in trouble for saying someone ran like a little monkey?
    Bottom line is in the pc world no primate name is appropriate for any non white. – Just get over it.

  75. bigroop says: Apr 23, 2010 5:27 PM

    Williams told Goodell to say it.
    And just to clarify, in the particular species of lowland gorillas where you would find silverbacks, all of the adult males ARE silverbacks. So I think in this case they are referring to the dominant male of that group.
    I’m just sayin’…

  76. The Real Shuxion says: Apr 26, 2010 10:55 AM

    I can see next years draft now…
    With the first pick the (Insert team here) select Bruce “16 inches” Carter OLB North Carolina.

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