Redskins trade for defensive lineman Wilder goes to Lions for Williams

September 12, 1990|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

HERNDON, Va. -- Defensive lineman Eric Williams of the Detroit Lions announced last night that he has been traded to the Washington Redskins.

According to Williams, the Redskins gave up running back James Wilder and a fourth-round draft choice to get him.

The Redskins did not confirm the deal until several hours after Williams announced it because they had problems contacting Wilder, who is in the process of moving. The trade is also contingent on Wilder and Williams passing physicals today with their new teams.

The Redskins have been looking for another veteran lineman because Fred Stokes is bothered by a shoulder injury and they don't know how long he'll remain in the lineup as a pass rusher.

They were considering bringing back Alonzo Mitz, who was the last lineman they cut, but grabbed Williams when he was available because he's a much better player than Mitz.

Williams, who held out during training camp before signing a one-year deal last week for about $415,000, sat out the opener. He has started in the past, but was expendable because the Lions are grooming a pair of young linemen, Dan Owens and Marc Spinder, who were drafted in the second and third rounds.

Their other ends are Keith Ferguson, Kevin Brooks and former Redskin Mark Duckens.

Wilder, who was signed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a $100,000 signing bonus, was expendable because Gerald Riggs signed early in camp, Kelvin Bryant stayed healthy and rookie Brian Mitchell emerged as a promising player. That left Wilder as the odd man out as a special teams player.

The Redskins signed Wilder for insurance because they didn't know if Riggs would be a long holdout or if Bryant would stay healthy. They also had no idea that Mitchell, a fifth-round choice, would be so impressive.

Since Wilder, 32, would have been left unprotected on Plan B at the end of the year, the Redskins were willing to trade him even though they now only have four running backs. The Lions wanted a veteran back behind Barry Sanders.

Williams, who has a congenital hip problem that usually limits his practice time during the second half of the year, told a Detroit television station he was excited about playing for Washington because "they really want me and Detroit obviously didn't want me."

But he's in his seventh year and was disappointed the Lions dealt him.

"It's hurts a lot. This is a business and they have to do what's right for the Detroit Lions and not what's right for Eric Williams. It's just that they don't account for the emotional side of it. That's why I'm feeling bad right now," he said.

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