Trent Williams details ‘business as usual’ offseason after contemplating retirement

Jun 7, 2023, 2:58 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm

Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers takes the field prior to an NFL football game between...

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 14: Trent Williams #71 of the San Francisco 49ers takes the field prior to an NFL football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on January 14, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

After last season’s crushing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game, many questions loomed for the San Francisco 49ers, including the future of Trent Williams.

While the 49ers were the hottest team in football, mental & physical grind of a 21-game season began to wear on the All-Pro left tackle, so much so that he dropped a few interesting quotes about his future in the NFL.

“And having two long seasons back-to-back, it does get pretty grueling for a 34-year-old guy like myself,” Trent Williams said at the conclusion of last season. “I’ll be 35 when the [2023] season starts. You do kind of think about what’s life like after football.”

Fast forward a few months and Willams’ tone has changed a bit.

Turning 35 before the start of his 13th NFL season, the Texas native is recharged and ready to go on another long quest to his first Lombardi trophy with the 49ers in 2023.

“It’s been good. It’s normal, business as usual,” Williams said Wednesday about his offseason so far. “Just trying to figure out ways to get better.”

Veterans like Williams may struggle to find the motivation to improve during the off-months of the NFL calendar. But after reflecting on his goals in his career following the January loss, his hunger & drive to compete returned in short order.

“After a tough loss like we suffered, it may take maybe a week or two longer,” Williams explained. “But usually about two to three weeks, when all the bumps and bruises kind of subside, and you looking at basketball on TV, watching people compete, you start to miss that competition and starting to get that edge again. And next thing you know you’re in the gym at two o’clock in the morning.”

He’s not joking. At age 34, Trent Williams prefers to work out in his home state of Texas at 2 a.m.

Williams elaborated, stating that it’s like therapy for him. Weight rooms are often crowded with eyes watching from every angle. That’s not a problem at 2 a.m., allowing the offensive lineman to put his best foot forward with each rep.

“It’s more so therapy,” Williams stated. “You get in there and you feel like you’re in a fish bowl. Everybody is watching how much you lift, seeing when you get tired. To me, I just like to go in there, open space. It’s night outside. It’s kind of like, you know everybody’s sleeping, I feel like I’m working. Maybe I’m getting a leg up… to me it’s kind of a mental thing.”

It also helps that he stays in shape year-round, compared to previous seasons.

Since getting traded to The Bay in 2020, Williams has played in six playoff games in three seasons. Before that: Two total.

The move from Washington allowed the veteran to stay game-ready all year, making it easier on his body when the ramp-up begins in the offseason.

“It kind of gives me a little more time in the offseason. Because usually after the Super Bowl, I’ve been on the couch for five to six weeks at that point. And getting back into it, it can be a little tough,” Trent Williams said. “So, you know we [lost] in the NFC Championship, football season is over two weeks after that. So, a couple of weeks after that I’m already back working out and never really got out of shape if that makes sense.”

The Texas native is also motivated by some of his world-class teammates, including running back Christian McCaffrey.

Only on the team for less than a calendar year, CMC has quickly become a leader and a tone-setter for the rest of the squad. Taking OTA and minicamp reps at full speed, McCaffrey continues to build off his stellar debut in 2022 with San Francisco. And that starts in the offseason.

During 11-on-11 drills Wednesday, CMC was held by a defensive lineman as he scampered past the line of scrimmage. The officials didn’t see it. Furious, he rushed over and gave his two cents to the line judge for 10 seconds before returning to the huddle. Trent Williams saw the whole thing unfold and wasn’t surprised by it one bit.

Iron sharpens iron, and that’s what everybody, including Trent, loves about Christian.

“When you get to know Christian, you understand why he’s the player he is,” Trent Williams exclaimed. “I mean, that’s every day. We’re in a minicamp. Most of the veterans are on the sideline with a front-row view.  You can’t keep him out the huddle, that’s him. He’s a competitor, he doesn’t take a day off, doesn’t take a play off. So, it doesn’t surprise me that he was pretty pissed off.”

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