As San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams prepares to face the Washington Football Team for the first time since his departure, he’s carrying no hard feelings toward the organization that drafted him.

“I won’t sit here and hold grudges for no reason,” Williams said Thursday. “The people I had an issue with, they’re not there. The people who helped instigate the situation are no longer a part of the organization. I’m not going to sit here and carry some grudge because people expect me to carry it.”

The 49ers dealt a 2020 fifth-round and 2021 third-round pick to Washington for Williams on the final day of the NFL draft in April. That move came after stalwart tackle Joe Staley announced his retirement and the Niners turned to Williams, who had previously played for Niners coach Kyle Shanahan when he was offensive coordinator in Washington.

That trade ended a lengthy saga that culminated in 2019 after Williams was diagnosed with a rare cancer and had to have a tumor removed from his skull. He sat out the entire season as he and Washington remained in a dispute over the handling of his health and his contract status.

Williams reiterated Thursday that his desire to leave Washington went deeper than his contract, noting he could have accepted a trade to the Minnesota Vikings when it was presented. Instead, he wanted a fresh start with the pieces in place to win and for him to succeed individually.

“It wasn’t about the money,” Williams said. “It was about respect. It felt I didn’t get that from them at that point. Nine years previous to that, I didn’t have an issue. I’ve seen issues happen [there] but I overlooked them because they didn’t happen to me. It was my first time being on that side of things. The better decision was to just go my separate way.”

The two people Williams had the biggest issues with — team president Bruce Allen and head athletic trainer Larry Hess — were fired after last season. Williams has said multiple times that he was upset because Allen failed to aggressively pursue a trade before the 2019 deadline.

Williams said he has not talked to owner Dan Snyder since the trade, though he has often said his complaint was not with Snyder and he still roots for many of the players who remain on Washington’s roster.

Williams played with right tackle Morgan Moses for five seasons and right guard Brandon Scherff for four. During training camp last year, while Williams was holding out, Moses attended a media session wearing Williams’ No. 71 jersey.

Williams also played two seasons with center Chase Roullier and one with quarterback Alex Smith. However, there are only 19 players on Washington’s 53-man roster from when Williams last played in 2018. Three others are on injured reserve.

“I didn’t have an issue with those guys in the locker room,” Williams said. “Those guys in the locker room supported me from Day 1 until now. They publicly showed support and privately showed support. I have nothing to prove to those guys who are going to be taking the field.”

Williams met once with Washington coach Ron Rivera last season. And while he liked meeting Rivera, the next day he knew he still wanted out.

“There was a glimmer of hope I would remain there,” Williams said. “But after talking to Ron, we were on two different pages. He wanted everybody to show him what they had. The point I was at in my career, I didn’t feel I had to show him what I had just to stick around. I knew there would be suitors out there and I wanted to go my own way.

“No disrespect. Very professional, very likeable guy. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him prior to the meeting and after the meeting. Never an issue.”

Williams always appeared headed for a long, storied career with Washington until he forced his exit. His inclusion in the team’s Ring of Fame would have been guaranteed.

From ESPN