HOUSTON — Nine of Trent Williams’s fellow Washington Redskins offensive linemen gathered around him in the corner of a state-of-the-art gym earlier this month. Each wore gear emblazoned with “Hogs 2.0,” and they were here, at Williams’s invitation, to work out together, bond and get closer toward their collective goal of achieving success similar to the hard-blocking, hard-living group that was central to the franchise’s three Super Bowl titles more than two decades ago.
But first, the 320-pound left tackle had a revelation to make: He went vegan.
Apart from the nickname redux, this week in Texas wasn’t going to remind anyone of the 1980s, when linemen lunched on hot dogs and drank post-practice beers in a lawn mower shed. Rather, the 2.0 version of the Hogs talked about giving up meat, employed the latest (and most ruthless) fitness techniques at O Athletik, a facility co-owned by Williams and New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson, and sipped late-night Hennessy at a stimulating hip-hop lounge.
As one of the NFL’s best offensive lines over the past two seasons and a critical — if perhaps overlooked — driver in the team’s recent offensive turnaround, these eclectic personalities are attempting to establish their own aura, while drawing inspiration from one of the best units in NFL history.
“I tagged a 2.0 on to it, because I didn’t want people to think we were trying to emulate the Hogs and say we had as much success or we were as good as they were,” Williams said. “But we wanted to pay homage to them and let them know that’s what we’re chasing. We’re chasing their greatness, and we acknowledge that they were great, and we acknowledge we want to be just like them — if not better.”
Williams invited all 15 Redskins linemen to his offseason home, and all but five took him up on it. The rarity of an offensive lineman camp doesn’t escape Williams, who has organized the logistics the past two years. He noticed how quarterbacks often got together with their wide receivers and tight ends during the offseason to work on things such as timing and familiarity. But the same wasn’t true for offensive lines, where continuity is just as important, if not more so.
“If you don’t trust the man next to you, ain’t got [expletive],” Isaiah Williams said while stretching his feet.
Trent Williams handled all his teammates’ expenses, including flights, hotels and three sets of Hogs 2.0 workout attire in black, burgundy and gray provided by Nike. And also all meals, which proved to be challenging because some of the largest men on the team weren’t eating red meat, poultry or dairy products.
Trent Williams explained his lifestyle change, which was on Day 6. The five-time Pro Bowler had recently watched “What The Health,” a 92-minute documentary on Netflix that “examines the link between diet and disease.” The documentary had opened up his understanding of how humans are the only species to cook animal meat and drink milk from other mammals — which, the movie said, helps contribute to different cancers and Type 2 diabetes.
Fellow 300-pound offensive linemen Arie Kouandjio and Isaiah Williams saw the documentary soon after and adjusted their eating habits, Kouandjio going full vegan and Williams committing to a pescatarian diet.
“It’s kind of ironic, because hogs eat everything,” Kouandjio said. “They even eat their own kind.”