ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins left tackle Trent Williams returned from his first four-game suspension five years ago motivated to make sure he never missed another game. After his latest one, he returns disappointed -- but more with others than with himself.
Williams was suspended in late October, two days after returning from London, for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. One source said at the time that Williams had missed a test because he was out of town, but did not fail one. But a missed test equates to a failed one in the eyes of the NFL.
"A lot of anger, a lot of disappointment, but time heals everything," Williams said of his emotions over the suspension. "The people I'm disappointed in, they know. ... The circumstances were different [from the last suspension]. Everything was different about the situation. I really can't comment on it further. There have been reports out and a lot of them have truth to them."
Williams hinted that he'd consider further action, though it was unclear what that would entail.
"I can't discuss what's going to take place and what's the plan," Williams said. "I'll revisit it at the end of the season. I want to get the four games out of the way and try to make the playoffs.
"It was extremely hard to deal with but it feels great to be back with my teammates doing what I love to do."
The Redskins would have welcomed back Williams regardless, but the timing is even better now. His backup, Ty Nsekhe, sprained an ankle in Sunday's loss to Arizona and did not practice Wednesday. Left guard Shawn Lauvao also missed practice with a groin injury. Starting center Spencer Long is in the concussion protocol.
"It's great to get Trent back under any circumstances, but when so many people are banged up, it's a real needed shot in the arm," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said. "So, glad to have one of our best players back and I know he's ready to go and love to see his urgency and excitement coming back."
Williams gives them their four-time Pro Bowler -- and a team captain the past five years -- at a premium position.
"We welcomed him back," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "He knows the importance of these last four games and how much he means to this football team. And he's ready to come in and compete.
"Trent always looks good. He's in great shape. He's big, strong, fast, physical. That's how he looked."
Williams said it was hard sitting out, not being able to attend games. He was allowed at the facility and attended meetings, but when teammates were practicing, he was lifting weights. He watched games by himself so he didn't have to answer a lot of questions.
And he kept life normal by continuing to host dinners for his linemates. Every week they'd gather at Williams' house and his personal chef would prepare a meal (last week: Mexican).
"I knew I would come back at a critical part of the season so I didn't want to get out of the groove," Williams said. "I wanted to stay as embedded in it as I could and as they allowed me to. That's why I continued with the routine. The dinner and all that stuff helps build camaraderie and it's a chance to talk amongst each other and it was a stress reliever for me as well.
"We had conversations. They understood what went on. They had my back. They're teammates that I call family."
Williams said the time off did help his body heal -- he'd once again been dealing with various aches and pains. But he's simply happy to be back -- and his teammates feel the same about seeing him.
"We're sticking beside him and listening to what he was saying and his side and supporting him," Redskins center Kory Lichtensteiger said. "He's still one of us."