Trent Williams: Doctors downplayed for more than five years tumor that was cancerous

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Washington left tackle Trent Williams met with reporters on Thursday for the first time since returning to the team this week and provided details about the medical condition that played a major role in his decision to stay away from the team until Tuesday.

Williams said he went to team doctors almost six years ago about the growth on his head that he wound up having removed this offseason. He said the doctors told him it was a minor condition at the time and he accepted that diagnosis while continuing to play.

The growth continued to grow, however, and he sought other outside opinions earlier this year. That was when he learned he had Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans, which is a rare, soft-tissue cancer.

“I had cancer. I had a tumor removed. It got pretty serious for a second. I was told some scary things by the doctor,” Williams said, via Kareem Copeland of the Washington Post.

Williams did not pass his physical because he felt discomfort when he tried on his helmet on Wednesday and head coach Bill Callahan said on Thursday that the team is looking for a way to customize the helmet to fit Williams comfortably. Williams said “we’ll see how this helmet thing turns out,” but there are other issues as well.

Williams suggested it would be crazy for him to play without having any guaranteed money on his contract. Williams, who is signed through next season, laughed when asked if he wanted to be traded in the offseason and said he has no trust for the organization, although he did say his relationship with team owner Dan Snyder is good.

He also said he still loves football, although it appears to be anybody’s guess when Williams might be playing it again.

38 responses to “Trent Williams: Doctors downplayed for more than five years tumor that was cancerous

  1. I went and had my skin cancer check today and they biopsied a bump on my head. I know it has had my attention. You don’t disnmiss a bump or sore spot. Get checked. Regularly.

  2. Kind of shocking to have no trust with the organization and then in the same breath say his relationship with Dan Snyder is good. You’d think that would be enough to work things out and get him on the field. You don’t need to have a great relationship with everybody to play left tackle and do your thing.

  3. The medical staff is yet another mismanaged part of a team that has nothing but mismanaged parts. Leading the league in IR isn’t injury “luck” when it happens year after year after year. The Williams situation is the latest evidence of the mismanaged medical staff, but nothing will change.

    Having 20% home fans at each home game is evidence of business mismanagement, but nothing will change. Bruce Allen’s 60-91-1 record is evidence of football mismanagement, but nothing will change. All over the organization are glaring signs of mismanagement and nothing ever changes!

  4. Does he think the doctors purposely withheld this information from him for five years? He admits that it was a rare form of cancer. Maybe they’d never seen it before. They aren’t oncologists. Nobody stopped him from going to a doctor on his own to have it checked out.

  5. I do not blame him one bit. He’s not playing for the Redskins again because they played around with his health. He clearly reported to the team just to collect another year and high tail out of there as soon as possible. They should have traded him as soon as this mess hit the fan, but the Bruce Allen-Danny Snyder duo continues to outdo itself. If it wasn’t for a failed 2 point conversion in Miami, this team would probably go 0-16.

  6. I’m a retired detective from a major city.

    Are there 1000 of you who are or knows a police officer?

    Ask them how they feel about Department Doctors.

    You will witness:

    1: Them stopping dead in their tracks

    2: Eye roll slash groan

    3: How much time do you have for me to explain?

    4: An eventual angry person


    Any of you all fortunate to work in an environment that has company Doctors, you KNOW.

    THEY SUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s about their liability and keeping the ‘product’ on the field. In my world is was ‘In the field’. I hate them, passionately.

  7. What did the Redskins do–hire the old Mets medical staff?

    It’s bad if they missed the diagnosis, beyond horrible if they didn’t and hid it. That would be “lock each doctor in a room with the patient and see who comes out alive” territory.

    I’m glad it has been diagnosed and treated, finally. Best wishes to Mr. Williams, and I hope he winds up with a competent franchise soon.

  8. Classic Redskins. Their medical staff engages in gross malpractice. They misdiagnose a cancerous growth putting their player in peril. Their best player understandably wants no part of the organization. And the head coach’s response is — hey, let’s find a new helmet for Trent.

  9. This was one of the few teams where it sounded like everyone was unusually depressed during training camp interviews in July and early August. It was kind of shocking to be honest. They might as well just start Haskins for the rest of the season and commit to the tank.

  10. Worth noting that both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy got staph infections following their surgeries. Odds of that should be incredibly slim but with the Redskins, it’s just the norm.

  11. If he wanted out he should have consulted with AB who has shown to be an expert at helmet issues and getting traded..

  12. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I will tell you, from doing years of workplace investigations – when someone comes to you with a complaint first thoughts are always how horrible. Then, when you get the other side – it might change. No one making a complaint is ever going to admit to any wrong doing on their part.

    Now it’s possible that he is 100% correct in his version – and it’s possible that he is also leaving out critical details. That won’t be known until the Redskins provide their version. And, due to privacy laws – that can’t happen without Williams’ permission or a lawsuit is filed compelling them to respond.

  13. No one would doubt the team’s doctors are either minimally competent (probably got the gig like all other “official” team sponsors, by paying the fee demanded by the team for such a title) and/or not specialists in this particular area and thus should have referred him to appropriate specialists (that’s what my, and probably your, doctors do).

    Having said that, I also don’t know anyone who, if a condition lasts for an extended period, would not arrange to see their own doctor for assessment. Williams comes across as fairly lackadaisical about matters.

  14. Everyone’s missing the operative thing here: it was misdiagnosed for SIX YEARS! That’s GROSS medical malpractice!

    Most people’s lawyers would be on line one!

    Shameful that the Redskins didn’t settle this thing with him and trade him! What in hell does it matter that they get a first round pick for him when they potentially could have killed him due to their gross negligence?!

  15. rogerdodger99 says:
    October 31, 2019 at 4:30 pm
    I do not blame him one bit. He’s not playing for the Redskins again because they played around with his health.
    Hold up a sec. He said he went to team docs 5 years ago. Then he just skipped ahead to this offseason. That is a lot of time in between for him to bring it up again or go see a different doctor. The initial report I read back around the beginning of August said it was benign. Maybe that was wrong, who knows. I’m just saying if Trent didn’t keep bringing it up to team docs or go find somebody else until 5 years later, he need to start the blaming in front of a mirror.

  16. This is what we know about the Redskins and their medical staff: they green lighted an injured RGIII back on the field with an obviously compromised knee, ending his career; Alex Smith nearly had his leg amputated following shoddy medical care; they attempted to rush Colt McCoy back on the field with an aggressive surgical procedure which further damaged his leg and resulting in additional surgies; they botched Derrius Guice’s ACL surgery, giving rise to three additional surgurical procedures, and now they ignored Trent’s cancerous growth. Everything about this organization is third rate.

  17. Everything worked out ok so what’s the problem? There are tons of people that can’t even afford proper medical care or who end up very ill or dead. He should be thankful that he found the right doctor and he’s ok. The world and the people in it are not perfect.

  18. A lot of people are running around with cancer. You hear all the time that someone went in for a checkup and the doctor told them they only have 6 weeks to live. Football players are no better or worse than the rest of the population. They do have a lot more money than most of us, and should be able to afford whatever medical tests they want.

  19. Just when the Bengals emerge as the most dysfunctional team in professional sports the Redskins say holdback my beer.

  20. I can understand Williams being upset. At the same time, a team Dr. isn’t an oncologist. If I had a tumor growing on my head, I’d be getting a 2nd opinion a heck of a lot quicker than 5 years…just saying’.

  21. This is what we know about the Redskins and their medical staff: they green lighted an injured RGIII back on the field with an obviously compromised knee, ending his career.
    A torn ACL is not a career ender; lack of football instincts makes for a real low ceiling.

  22. Sounds strange how this been going on over 5 years, and then he drops in the comment it’d be crazy to play for this team without guaranteed money….All of a sudden I feel unsure about TW’s credibility in this story. Not that I’d buy what Bruce Allen is selling, but just saying

  23. If you have a growth on your skin, you see a dermatologist not a ‘team doctor.’ Second of all you need to realize there’s a reason he’s not called the “players doctor.’

  24. I KNOW the Saints have an EXCELLENT medical staff for the team. Back in 2006, they CORRECTLY diagnosed that Drew Brees’ shoulder would be okay. And just recently they made LIFE SAVING diagnoses of potentially fatal heart conditions pertaining to Nick Fairley and Jon Dorenbos.

    And I’d like to give the Eagles MAJOR props for giving Dorenbos a Super Bowl ring when they won the Lombardi in 2017. He was out of the NFL but Dr. Lurie believed he EARNED it for his 11 years of service to the team.

  25. Contrary to the article, Williams did not say “he has no trust for the organization”, he strongly implied he has no trust in Bruce Allen. By no means am I defending the Redskins organization, it’s just an interesting distinction. Something to think about.

  26. So…if I had a growth on my head and 40 million dollars in the bank to pay medical bills, I’m pretty sure I’d find a few days to get a second opinion from an outside dr. The Skins screw up everything they touch, no doubt, but Williams needs to assume some responsibility on this one.

  27. Sorry, But I believe team employed medical staff are responsible ethically and contractually for a players overall health – especially since (I believe,could be wrong) players are contractually obligated to us the teams medical staff as a primary provider.
    Look no further than John Dorenbos and the Saints for an example of how important a good medical staff performs. If Williams reported this issue to the team staff five years ago, and they didn’t follow up on it then they are at fault.

  28. Sports doctors are not dermatologists or oncologists.

    He’s got tens of millions of dollars, he should have sought a second opinion.

    This still reads like an excuse to me. If he wants out he should just say so, plainly. I don’t exactly blame him.

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