Henry: Back home, Lobos honor Williams
May 16, 2017 at 11 p.m.
Trent Williams remembers his time at Lobo Stadium well.
He remembers the goals, dreams and aspirations. He remembers lining up next to friends and teammates. He remembers the grind.
Most of all, through a standout career on the football field, from his time as a Lobo to an All-American career at Oklahoma to an All-Pro career with the Washington Redskins, he always remembers home.
He's walked down the tunnel at Lobo Stadium countless times. On Tuesday, as he made the trek once again to the field, past the locker room that bears his name, the attention was all on him. The first glimpse of the field brought a smile.
Unlike his previous trips back to Longview, where he's donated and contributed his time and funds, from a new locker room, to EKG testing for Longview ISD athletes, to new shoes for elementary students, to Christmas gifts for the needy — actions where the focus has turned away from the Pro Bowl offensive lineman and on to this community — the Lobos paid him back.
For the second time in program history, the Lobos retired a jersey, Williams' 71.
"It's a surreal feeling," Williams said. "Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine getting my jersey retired, especially at a high school like this that's rich in tradition in football.
"To know that I've done enough in my career, and I feel like I've got a lot left to do, to have my jersey retired, it's a blessing."
His accolades on the field are long and well-known. They serve as just a small part of why the Lobos retired Williams' jersey, joining Bobby Taylor's as the two that will hang inside the Lobo Den.
"He has never forgotten where he was born and raised from the very beginning," Longview head coach John King, who first coached Williams as a position coach when the future Pro Bowler was a freshman, said. "From how he announces himself on Monday Night Football, to the money he's given our football program, our athletic progra, our high school, the at-risk kids throughout the district and in this community, he's never forgotten home.
"He's done a lot of things that haven't gotten recognition. Just a tremendous person and that's exactly why we're honoring him."
After a brief presentation, Williams thanked those who had supported him throughout. Behind him, the Lobos prepared to cap their spring practice with the annual Green-White Game.
"I just want to show the kids that I'm from here, I'll never forget that and for them to never forget that there's success in going to school and working hard," Williams said. "I want to show them that the goals at the end are reachable and to shoot for the stars.
"I was once a kid on this field with those aspirations."
After an extended autograph session, Williams joined his family in the press box to watch the scrimmage.
He remembers those as well.
"I remember the heat," he laughed. "It was always fun to get out here and compete against teammates.
"Iron sharpens iron."
Williams was curious about who would be the next Lobo to reach the top level.
"There's a lot of pride here," he said. "I'm eager to see who else reaches that level. I know we've got some great talent out there and people coming down the pipeline that will draw a lot of attention."
On Tuesday, the attention was all on Williams.
On Tuesday, he was home.
(For more on the Lobos' Green-White Game, see the Lobo Insider blog at ETVarsity.com; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h)