Veteran Washington Redskins offensive lineman Mike D Williams, who overcame weight problems to become a valuable member of the unit in his first season with the team, is expected to miss the 2010 season because of blood clots near his heart, two people familiar with the situation said late Friday night.
Williams, projected to compete for a starting spot at right guard, was hospitalized recently because the problem, the team sources said. Although Williams has been released from the hospital, the organization is concerned that his condition could be career-threatening and likely will keep him off the field for at least the upcoming season, which gets underway July 29 when the team begins its first training camp under Coach Mike Shanahan.
Speaking on behalf of the organization, Tony Wyllie, Redskins senior vice president, declined to comment on Williams's medical status.
The loss of Williams would be a significant blow to an offensive line in transition in the Redskins' first season under Shanahan, who also is the head of the team's football operation. Considered a bust as a tackle after being drafted in the first round by the Buffalo Bills, Williams resurrected his career after being moved to guard with the Redskins last season.
Williams, 30, has a promising future in the league as a guard, Shanahan said shortly after taking control of the organization. The former University of Texas all-American was expected to compete with newcomer Artis Hicks at right guard, and probably would have played considerably even if he filled a reserve role.
The fourth overall pick in the 2002 draft, Williams had been out of football for two seasons and last played in the 2005 regular season before the Redskins signed him as a free agent before the 2009 season. He struggled in pass protection at tackle but provided a physical presence at guard. Shanahan and his staff liked what they saw on film and the team rewarded Williams with a two-year contract.
After weighting about 410 pounds when he joined Washington, Williams last month said he was down to about 330. During the team's offseason program, Williams served as a mentor to rookie left tackle Trent Williams, whom the Redskins selected fourth overall in the three-day April draft.