San Francisco star left tackle Trent Williams sported crutches and a walking boot as the 49ers cleaned out their lockers on Tuesday following Sunday’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Williams called the injury to his left foot “minor” but noted the “grueling” aspect of another long season, his 12th in the NFL. Like most 34-year-olds, Williams said retirement is always a consideration at this stage but stopped short of making a proclamation one way or another.
“It’s a long season, having two long seasons back-to-back, it does get pretty grueling for a 34-year-old guy like myself,” Williams said Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “You do kind of think about what’s life like after football, because I’ve done this every year of my life since the second grade. You do get to that age, especially after ending the year like this and it being as exhausting as it was and still not getting quite where you want to be. I get it, you get to that age. Honestly, I’m just taking it one day at a time and we’ll see how it goes.”
While he didn’t sound like retirement was coming this season, it would be a massive blow to the Niners if the All-Pro left tackle did walk away. San Francisco is already staring at the prospect of losing right tackle Mike McGlinchey in free agency.
Despite his age, Williams remains among the elite, best-of-the-best blockers in the NFL. His athleticism and range allow him to smother rushers and steamroll defenders in the ground game. Williams’ unique ability helps the entire Niners offense run smoother. A few more seasons at an All-Pro level, and Williams will be getting fitted for a gold jacket.
The question each offseason from here on out will be whether the day-to-day grind of the season wears him down enough to consider walking away.
“I’d be lying say it didn’t,” Williams said of the grueling grind. “Yeah, it does. It isn’t hard to get up for NFC Championship [Game], or playoffs or anything like that. But, yeah, the day-to-day grind does get pretty redundant [after] doing it for a long time.
“But I’m blessed. I’m blessed to have played this game for as long as I have. And whatever God has in the future for me, I know I’ll have it. But to answer your question, yeah, it does get a little like a rerun almost.”
The 49ers hope that rerun with Williams lasts at least a couple of more seasons.