We don’t often get to hear the stories about what players are battling behind the scenes. In most cases, we’re blind to what happens off the field. San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams joined ESPN’s Adam Schefter to discuss his battle with cancer. You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here, beginning around the 8:30 mark.
Williams discussed how he took “a lot of stuff for granted, just in life in general.” He opened up about what life as an NFL athlete is like and how they are pampered. He said he felt “untouchable.” Williams also mentioned how there are several struggles athletes encounter that those of us on the outside are unaware of.
After Williams was diagnosed with cancer, the doctors told Williams to “get his affairs in order” and to get close to his kid: “They told me to just kind of get closer to the things that matter most. I thought football was over with.”
That’s something I couldn’t imagine, knowing the rigorous schedule of the NFL and all of a sudden being told you may never play again.
Williams went from battling cancer to returning to the best left tackle in the NFL — in the span of a year. So when Williams gets beaten, it’s a shock. It’s a rarity when you see somebody get past No. 71 on the football field.
Williams had two blown blocks in pass pro Sunday against Minnesota. Before Week 12, Williams had four blown blocks in pass protection all season. He’s only surrendered one, yes, one blown block as a run blocker on the year, per Sports Info Solutions. In addition, he has not allowed a sack on the year.
When asked by Schefter if Williams changed his approach to the game, Williams became emotional, saying, “I just don’t take it for granted. Just, every Sunday, I just give thanks because I didn’t know how close it was to not being there.”
The 49ers are thankful for Williams. The team landed an All-Pro player for two Day 3 picks.