Offensive linemen in the NFL typically fly under the radar—they aren't making flashy one-handed catches, throwing Hail Marys, or racking up rushing yards. O-lineman, however, have one of the most critical responsibilities on the football field—protection.
With the release of their new product, the Gillette Fusion ProShield, Gillette is celebrating the importance of shielding and protection by teaming up with some of the toughest protectors in sports, including Washington Redskins' Trent Williams. The Fusion ProShield—which features lubrication before and after the blades—shields the face from irritation and embodies the protective force of the guys on the O-line.
To join in on the celebration, you can submit your very own protection-inspired dance on Twitter using the HashTag #ShieldMove. NFL O-liners Rodger Saffold (St. Louis Rams), John Urschel (Baltimore Ravens), and Trent Williams (Washington Redskins) have already debuted theirs and are inviting guys around the country to submit their very own moves for the rest of January.
We spoke with Williams to discuss what the partnership is all about and what it's like being an NFL offensive lineman. Here's the full interview.
What does it mean to be an offensive lineman in the NFL?
What it means to be an offensive lineman in the NFL basically goes hand-in-hand with the message Gillette is trying to get across—to shield and protect. And as an offensive lineman that’s all you’re taught to do—is to shield and protect the man with the ball. It’s a selfless job. You can’t have an ego when you’re playing offensive line, and I think it fits me perfectly.
About the Fusion Proshield, would you consider yourself a Gillette guy?
Yeah I love their products. The only razor I use is Gillette and the new Fusion Proshield—for me, I have extremely sensitive skin, so I was able to use this razor. And it's probably the best razor for me.
How would you describe the training regimen for an offensive lineman in the offseason? I’m sure there’s a lot of strength training and mobility stuff?
Yeah, definitely, you have to work on your core strength—that has to do with it. And you said it—the mobility, you have to be mobile, you have to be able to be fleet of foot. And with the game we’re playing today, those guys across the ball are just evolving into creatures that the game hasn’t seen before. With the speed, athleticism, size, and strength that these guys are coming with now—we offensive lineman have to be able to match that, and we do most of our catching up in the offseason training.
You said you’ve got to be able to match it. So of course you want to be strong, and you’re a big guy, so are you doing plenty of squatting, benching, deadlifting, big lifts like that?
Yeah, I think all the lifts, they have a very vital role as far as when you try to build yourself up for the season. The hang-clean, squat, all that has to do with explosiveness and obviously the bench—you’re usually using your hands, most of the time your upper body. So having upper body strength is a direct reflection of the success you’ll have on the field. So yeah you definitely have to do all those lifts and then you definitely have to work on your core. You have to do it the old fashion way—get on the ground and do your sit-ups and do your crunches. They’re things that you have to do and work on in order to be good at this position.
Some players will use chains on the squat, or resistance bands on the bench—is there any really cool lifting movement that you like a lot?
Yeah one thing our coach likes to do this year is called the earthquake bar. Kettlebells work really well with it, and you need bands to hold the kettlebells up, it really works on your stability and helps your shoulders and all your joints kind of build strength and stability with the whole lift. The weight keeps swinging around, so it forces you to be stable with the bar. Or else it will fly everywhere. To me, that was one of the most intriguing lifts that I learned this year.
What do you guys do to stay healthy and injury-free during the season?
I tell the young guys all the time that offseason training is basically "putting money in the bank," so to say. And you want to stash as much money in the bank before the season starts cause that’s when you start to withdraw from the bank. And the more you got, the longer you last. With my training regimen during the season, I don’t like to stray away too much from what I’ve done in the offseason, you know obviously you got to take it down a little bit to be fresh, but I kinda try to keep the same lifts, same exercises, just try to take the reps down a little more.
How do you eat? Obviously you want to keep some level of size for your job. Is it really clean all the time? Or do you have some wiggle room?
As long as you’re not tip-toeing the line of being overweight, you kind of get a little wiggle room to get a cheat meal every now and then, but for the most part, during the season and while I’m training, I try to keep it as clean as possible. Like I said I throw in a few cheat days in here and there but for the most part I like to eat clean.
What’s your favorite cheat meal?
It would have to be something Southern. Maybe the whole "soul-food"—you know, the macaroni and cheese, the baked beans, stuff along those lines.