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Ricky Williams needs to save up his money...
Dolphins may ask Ricky for $8 million refund
By Alex Marvez
Posted July 27 2004
In the past week, Ricky Williams has traveled from the Bahamas to Hawaii to Tokyo and back to Los Angeles on Monday after just a 24-hour stay overseas.
Agent Leigh Steinberg said Williams' next stop today is Martha's Vineyard, with other destinations possibly to follow now that he is retiring from football.
But Williams may want to curtail his extensive sightseeing because the Dolphins are expected to attempt recouping roughly $8 million that was paid to him if the tailback follows through on plans to leave the team.
An NFL source said Monday that the restructured contract Williams agreed to with the Dolphins in 2002 allows the franchise to reclaim about $4.7 million paid to him the past two seasons through incentive clauses should he quit before the end of his contract in 2006. The Dolphins also would try recouping $3.3 million of the $8.8 million signing bonus Williams received from New Orleans after being the fifth player selected in the 1999 draft.
The practical intent of recoupment provisions included in Williams' contract was to protect the Dolphins against a potential holdout. But the league source said they also are applicable if Williams retires before fulfilling the final three seasons remaining on the eight-year contract he signed as a rookie with New Orleans.
The Dolphins, Steinberg and the NFL Players Association did not return phone calls Monday seeking comment on contract concerns.
Williams' mother told the Dallas Morning News that she's saddened with her son's decision to retire from football but supports whatever he wants to do.
"As a fan, I'm heartbroken," Sandy Williams said. "I think the majority of people think he's nuts. But I raised him not to be selfish but to look out for himself. And he took it to the limit. I'm happy for him because it's what he wants."
She said the high expectations for the former Texas star created too much pressure.
"Ricky almost quit football after that first year," she said. "There's no question Ricky got a cold-hearted taste of the NFL as a business right away in New Orleans, and it affected him. From that point on, he said he wouldn't be in the NFL long."
Because of the large amount the Dolphins could try to recoup, there is the chance Williams would reconsider his decision to retire. Williams had yet to officially inform the NFL of his intention to retire Monday and the Dolphins have not placed him on their reserve/retired list.
But all indications remain that Williams will walk away from football at 27, forcing the Dolphins to scramble to find a replacement for a player who rushed for 3,225 yards and 25 touchdowns the past two seasons.
"He is very excited about exploring, traveling, maybe going back to school," Steinberg told The Associated Press after speaking Monday with Williams. "He is an American original. He is an example of the bright, gifted athlete who has turned away from this massive contract, endorsements, every conventional thing that society has to offer, to explore an alternative life."
But whether financial considerations played a role in Williams' decision to retire remains unclear. Coach Dave Wannstedt said Williams told him Friday that he was leaving because he didn't feel he could make the commitment necessary to continue playing.
However, an NFL source said Williams declined the Dolphins' offer of a contract extension earlier in the offseason because Steinberg thought he could get more money in the future.
Another NFL source said Williams also may have felt compelled to continue playing had the Dolphins signed him to an extension in the offseason that included a lucrative signing bonus.
Williams was to earn $3.74 million this season, all of which will be credited to the Dolphins in salary cap space should he retire.
The Dolphins restructured Williams' contract in September 2002 because of concerns that the low base salaries in his original deal with New Orleans could become a sore point and a distraction. The new deal paid Williams for reaching rushing incentives and also pushed that total into his base salary for the following season.
Williams collected $2.1 million in incentives in 2002 while rushing for an NFL-high 1,853 yards, which also increased his 2003 base salary to $2.63 million. Williams then earned another $560,000 in incentives during his 1,372-yard campaign in 2003.
But Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, a close friend of Williams, believes the Dolphins were receiving a bargain. Brown ripped the Dolphins on Monday when asked whether he could understand whether the team was upset about Williams' decision to retire after trading two first-round draft choices to acquire him.
"I don't care anything about what the Dolphins gave up," Brown told WSVN-TV (Channel 7). "They didn't give up anything. They didn't rework Ricky's contract. They took advantage of the contract he signed."
Jim Brown and Mack Brown, who was Williams' coach at the University of Texas, both said they supported his decision to retire. Last Friday, Wannstedt asked Mack Brown and ex-Saints coach Mike Ditka to speak with Williams about leaving football.
"Money never brings happiness," Jim Brown said. "If it did, every football player and rapper would be happy."
Said Mack Brown in a statement: "Giving up something that you love to do is never an easy choice, but I respect Ricky for the thought he has put into this. This is something he has considered for a long time. He always told me he couldn't wait until the time came when he could come back to school and finish his degree. He has meant a lot to the game, and the game has done a lot for him."
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Re: Ricky Williams needs to save up his money...
Am I mistaken or was it Ricky Williams who misteriously showed up at NFL headquarters in New York a month or so ago, "just for a visit". Wasn't the NFL about to level a fine or suspension on him? I'm not hearing anything about this incident. Could this have been motivation for him to retire?Roman18
Re: Ricky Williams needs to save up his money...In the past week, Ricky Williams has traveled from the Bahamas to Hawaii to Tokyo and back to Los Angeles on Monday after just a 24-hour stay overseas.
Was he in the company of Robin Leech?
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