In 2019 alone, Williams was diagnosed with a rare cancer and had to have a tumor removed from his skull. He also missed that entire season as he and the Washington Football Team remained in a dispute over the handling of his health and his contract status.
According to Williams, none of it compared to his recent battle with COVID-19.
"It was the toughest thing I ever had to do in my career," Williams said Saturday. "Not only did I have, what, 14 days of literally nothing [to do], but I spent that time battling COVID. It wasn't just sitting on the couch and having iced lemonade and just enjoying the newspaper. It was stressful times because you just never know how that's gonna affect you. Nobody knows until it actually runs its course."
Williams tested positive for the coronavirus soon after a Nov. 15 loss to the New Orleans Saints. From there, Williams, who is not only a cancer survivor but also asthmatic, said he felt the effects of COVID-19 on his body for the next seven or eight days.
Because the 49ers were on the bye week as Williams dealt with symptoms, he did not miss a game. By last Thursday, Williams was feeling better and was told that he would have a chance to play against the Los Angeles Rams. He was cleared to play last Saturday and started Sunday.
Williams said one of the symptoms he dealt with was respiratory, which made him a bit leery since he hadn't had any practices in two weeks to get his wind up for the game against the Rams.
"I honestly didn't expect to play," Williams said. "That's a pretty good time period, but I have great teammates, great coaches. They helped me get through it."
Nearly three weeks removed from his COVID battle, Williams is keeping perspective and remaining thankful that he was able to get through it without more serious complications.
"Just coming off of the year I had in '19 where things didn't really go my way, I was kind of expecting this COVID deal to take the same turn," Williams said. "But luckily, I'm blessed, I got through it with little to no effect from it now.
"I'm just thankful because I know there's a lot of people out there who battled this virus and it didn't end so well for them. I never want to overlook that, but the last couple years have been pretty challenging. But I'm standing here, so I'm blessed."