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Trent Williams on Possibly Returning to 49ers: 'Y'all Barking Up the Right Tree'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2021

San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) blocks during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Dallas won 41-33. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
Brandon Wade/Associated Press

Offensive tackle Trent Williams expressed interest Tuesday in returning to the San Francisco 49ers ahead of the start of NFL free agency.

Williams appeared on The Cris Collinsworth Podcast with Niners teammate Richard Sherman, who is also set to become a free agent, and discussed his options in free agency. With regard to Williams, Sherman said: "I've got San Francisco. I've got him staying in San Francisco for the faithful. I think he stays in San Francisco. I think he makes you guys happy for another five to six years and gets his gold jacket and then decides whether he wants it in Washington or San Francisco."

In response, Williams said: "That's not a bad take, fellas. That's not a bad take. Y'all barking up the right tree."

Last season was Williams' first in San Francisco following a trade from the Washington Football Team. The 32-year-old veteran started all 14 games he played in and was named a Pro Bowler for the eighth time in his career.

Williams played for Washington from 2010 to 2018 after it selected him with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, and he undoubtedly lived up to his billing. In nine seasons, Williams made 119 regular-season starts and was named to the Pro Bowl seven times.

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He missed the entire 2019 season because of the combination of a holdout and the aftermath of getting a cancerous growth removed from his head.

Williams took issue with how Washington handled both his contract situation and the growth, which essentially spelled the end of his tenure there.

Washington moved on from the massive left tackle in April 2020, trading him to the 49ers for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2020 fifth-round pick.

Williams was solid as ever last season, but injuries up and down the Niners' lineup caused them to go from being the NFC's representative in Super Bowl LIV in 2019 to a 6-10 team last season.

Despite that, hopes are high entering 2021, provided the 49ers can remain healthy, given the amount of talent they have on both sides of the ball.

Retaining Williams could be key to the Niners' success, as he mitigated the loss of longtime Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Staley, who retired after the 2019 season.

Williams was key last season in terms of blocking in the running game and protecting the blindside of multiple quarterbacks, including Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard.

Given his resume, Williams will be one of the top offensive tackles on the free-agent market, but his comments suggest that he is hopeful to remain in San Francisco over the long haul.

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