The Redskins have reached an agreement to hire Ryan Vermillion, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, as their head athletic trainer, and according to the Washington Post, a person familiar with the situation tells them that they intend to use the overhaul of their training staff as a key element of new head coach Ron Rivera’s attempt to get disgruntled left tackle Trent Williams to return to the team.
“One of Ron’s top goals is to get Trent back,” the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the Redskins had not announced the staff addition. “I know for certain that Ron is going to try to get him back.”
The deal with Vermillion was completed Friday night, the person said. Vermillion replaces Larry Hess, the Redskins’ longtime head athletic trainer who was not retained when Rivera was hired as coach.
Rivera, who completed a deal Tuesday with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and was assured complete authority within the organization, formerly worked with Vermillion with the Panthers. Vermillion is said to have a very good reputation within the league, among players, and with the NFL Players Association.
Williams, 31, is under contract with the Redskins for at least one more season after ending 2019 on the non-football injury list. He did not play at all this season and had a dispute with the team over his medical care and other health-related issues. However, with the changes to the training staff and the departure of Bruce Allen as team president, Rivera hopes to convince Williams to return.
Following Rivera’s introductory press conference on Thursday, NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay asked Rivera if the new head coach had a plan to bring Williams back into the building.
“Well that’s something I’m interested to sit down and talk with the powers that be, the folks that are going to get together and discuss that as we go forward,” Rivera said. “I have an idea of how I want to sit down and visit with him.”
Williams was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer on his scalp last winter that he said was inside a growth the team’s medical staff ignored for several years. Angry about the cancer and what he described as poor general care by the trainers, he held out of training camp and the first half of the season, demanding to be traded. He returned just minutes before the Oct. 29 trade deadline after Washington did not deal him to another team, and was placed on the non-football injury list a week later, ending his season, while also assuring Williams would not receive payment for the year on his contract.
“I don’t see how it can be reconciled,” Williams said of his relationship with the team in an interview in November. “At the end of the day, I’m a human being. I ain’t like a dog and you can slap the **** out of me and I’m going to come back the next morning with my tail wagging. This was a conscious decision; they didn’t burn the bridge by accident. This was something they felt comfortable doing, so I got to feel comfortable with moving on, too.”
Redskins running back Adrian Peterson, one of Williams’ closest friends on the team, said the day after the season ended that he thought there was a chance Williams would return because Allen had been fired. Despite the efforts by Rivera and other members of the team, it remains to be seen if Williams will actually be in a Redskins uniform when training camp begins later this year.