ASHBURN - Trent Williams' absence from the Washington Redskins mandatory practices this week is about more than just money.
Williams, one of the NFL's best left tackles, had a major health scare this offseason. A tumor was discovered on his head, and he had to have an operation to remove it.
Entering his 10th season, Williams has often skipped the team's voluntary workouts, but it raised eyebrows this week when he missed the mandatory minicamp.
Williams has not returned messages from the Times-Dispatch. One media report said that Williams wants a new contract, while another suggested he was unhappy with the team's medical staff and its handling of his procedure.
“I think where the frustration might lie is in the timing of a diagnosis; maybe he wished the diagnosis had come a little sooner,” coach Jay Gruden said. “That’s my understanding.”
Team medical personnel and Redskins president Bruce Allen were not made available for comment. Gruden said he believes the tumor was not related to Williams' playing football.
Adrian Peterson, who co-owns a gym with Williams, disputed a CBS Sports report that Williams had demanded a trade over the situation.
"I don't know where that came from," Peterson said. "I talk to Trent all the time, and that's not something I've heard come out of his mouth."
Right tackle Morgan Moses, a Richmond native and UVA alumnus, said he and his teammates on the offensive line stand fully behind Williams, and referenced the medical concerns.
"It's a business," Moses said. "It's about time somebody like that stands up. It's not just a situation here. It happens throughout the league. To have one of our peers like Trent, a very valued guy on the field and off the field, stand up like that, it means a lot, not just to us as players but to the NFL as well.
"Obviously his scare is one you never want to have, but at the end of the day, you've got to take care of yourself. He's made a lot of money throughout his NFL career, and obviously he still wants to play. He loves the game, there's no doubt about that. But he has to take care of himself first."
Moses also made reference to Williams' potential desire for a new contract, noting, "He's the best left tackle in the league. So when it's time for you to get paid, it's time for you to get paid."
Williams has two years remaining on his current contract, which at one point was the league's richest but has slid to eighth as other left tackles have received their own raises.
Moses said he couldn't address the specifics of Williams' dispute with the team, because he hadn't discussed that specifically with him.
There's no indication that Williams will show for Thursday's practice, meaning the next time he has to appear with the team will be when training camp begins in Richmond.
"As far as what happened between him and the doctors, that is between him and the doctors, and hopefully we get that cleared up soon," Gruden said.
Wednesday's practice observations:
--Many NFL coaches hold the first two days of minicamp, then hold a team-building activity like bowling or going to the movies on the third day. That's how Redskins coach Jay Gruden has always approached it, as well.
This year, though, Gruden told his players they'll be returning Thursday for the third day of the camp, and they'll be working.
He said with the team breaking in two new quarterbacks, and the other roster turnover, he feels the Redskins would benefit from an extra day of work.
--Possibly related: Gruden has been unhappy with the pace of practices multiple times, urging his players to get to the line or get to their next station faster.
--My thoughts on Dwayne Haskins after two full-team practices: He's not ready yet, but he's got a lot of potential. One thing that stands out is how much time it takes Haskins to fully read his receiving options as he scans the field. It's not the fluid moment you expect to see from an NFL quarterback.
But when he makes his decision, and when he lets it rip, he's had some really, really good throws. Making him the Week 1 starter would be a mistake, but he's going to be fun to keep an eye on in the preseason.
--Adrian Peterson turned back the clock midway through practice. Most running drills are conducted at half-speed, because no tackling is allowed, but Peterson took the ball and juked, spun and sprinted his way through a tight hole in the middle of the field, drawing more than a few "oohs" and "aahs" from his teammates. He's still got it.
--Once again, the defensive line had its way. Early in the workout, Dwayne Haskins threw the ball, and on his follow through, he hit his hand on the helmet of one of his offensive linemen who had been pushed back. No harm, no foul.
--Greg Stroman was the team's punt returner, reprising his role from last season. The team is hoping for a big second-year leap from him.
--Stroman was the day's biggest offender in the secondary, as NFL officials were on hand to advise about calls.
--After one complaint from a defensive back, assistant coach Ray Horton, who works with the group, told his players, in a tongue-and-cheek way, to pipe down: "That's what this league is now," he yelled. "Nobody pays to see you."
--The session ended with a 2-minute drill, as it did on Tuesday. Case Keenum struggled to generate much momentum, and stalled out before getting the needed touchdown.
--Haskins hit an early completion when cornerback Jimmy Moreland decided to gamble for an interception, but missed and gave up a 20-yard completion. The downside of being aggressive in the NFL.
--Haskins got a touchdown during his time, hitting Terry McLaurin for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone that was a good throw, but a great catch by McLaurin. He's emerging as a potential star.