ASHBURN — With Trent Williams‘ season over, the Redskins left tackle is now free to pursue some of his interests outside of football. And for the seven-time Pro Bowler, that involves the world of professional boxing.
On Friday, Williams will be ringside in Sloan, Iowa to watch light heavyweight Joseph George make his network debut on Showtime’s “ShoBox” against Marcos Escudero. The matchup is more than just Williams attending to support a friend — George (9-0, six knockouts) is one of four boxers the left tackle professionally manages.
With no game to play on Sunday, Williams has time to support his fighter.
“It does help fuel some of that competitive spirit that I have, that I still want to compete, getting to see guys that I’m really close to compete,” Williams said. “It’s not the same (as playing football), but it kind of scratches that itch.”
Williams was — and wasn’t — surprised when the Redskins put him on the league’s season-ending non-football injury list last week. On one hand, the 10-year NFL veteran has been in the league long enough to know how teams operate, especially the Redskins. “You can’t be surprised by some of the decisions they make,” he said.
But the fact the Redskins ended his season days before they had to officially caught him off guard. Washington was granted a two-week roster exemption to accommodate Williams, who ended his holdout Oct. 29. The 31-year-old was not initially active because he failed his physical over feeling discomfort when trying on a helmet.
Williams, who had previously said he lost faith in the Redskins over their handling of a cancerous tumor, was in the process of trying to find a custom helmet when the Redskins placed him on the NFI list.
“I was actually due to get another helmet on that Monday,” Williams said, “and the Riddell guy kind of assured me that I would be, that that helmet I was getting on Monday was gonna be the one that would … be the one that I was looking for.”
Instead, that meeting was canceled, as the NFI designation ended Williams‘ season.
The Redskins opted to withhold Williams‘ remaining $5.1 million salary, which is their right under the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The left tackle, however, initially told ESPN that he was checking with the player’s union to see if he could recoup that money, and said Thursday there was no update in that regard.
For now, Williams is focused on boxing. The 31-year-old started managing George two years ago and the boxer trains in Houston out of O Athletik, the gym Williams co-owns with Redskins running back Adrian Peterson.
Williams said boxing has been a passion of his since he took the sport up recreationally in 2011, a year into his career. He got into managing when he started to know fighters personally, he said. Managing, too, is a joint venture, as he splits duties with James Cooper, his business partner who is also a trainer at their gym.
“I’m a competitor and I like to compete,” Williams said, “so if I’m going to be in the management business, I would like to do it well.”
Williams is actively involved in his fighter’s career, George said. Speaking on the phone minutes after he weighed in for the bout, George recalled how Williams provided the signing bonus when he signed his managerial contract. He also detailed how Williams provides a private jet for the fighter, taking him to Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas to spar.
Williams even knows how to properly hype his fighter, like any good manager.
“We think he’s ready,” Williams said of George. “We think he’s ready to push to make a step up. This fight here is a step up for him. We can come out of this looking like we want to look, obviously, the next step is to keep going up.”
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