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  1. #1
    ZigZagRam's Avatar
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    SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    Pre-camp decision stuns Dolphins

    ESPN.com news services
    Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams has told the team he plans to retire after just five NFL seasons, The Miami Herald reported on its Web site early Sunday morning.

    "He wants to get on with his life, wants to move on to bigger and better things," Herald reporter and ESPN commentator Dan Le Betard told SportsCenter.

    According to the Herald's report, Williams wants to travel the world and is tired of the demands and restraints of a professional football career.

    "I just don't want to be in this business anymore," Williams told the paper. "I was never strong enough to not play football, but I'm strong enough now. I've considered everything about this. Everyone has thrown every possible scenario at me about why I shouldn't do this, but they're in denial. I'm happy with my decision.

    "I'm finally free. I can't remember ever being this happy."

    According to Le Batard, the Dolphins are stunned by the news and members of the organization are still trying to talk Williams out of his decision, one the Herald says should be finalized this week when Williams faxes his retirement papers to the league.

    Williams was scheduled to make $3.7 million in each of the 2004 and '05 seasons, and $11.25 million in 2006, ESPN.com's John Clayton reported.

    Last season, Williams rushed for 1,372 yards on 392 carries, averaging 3.5 yards. He has rushed for 1,000 or more yards in four of his five NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints and the Dolphins, tallying 6,354 for his career. Williams also had 1,806 receiving yards on 229 catches.

    Williams reportedly tested positive for marijuana on Dec. 10, 2003, and faced a fine of at least $650,000 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy for the second time.

    The Saints traded virtually their 1999 entire draft to move up to No. 5 overall to take Williams, a Heisman Trophy winner at the University of Texas.


  2. #2
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    Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    Ricky Williams: 'I'm retiring'

    Fed up with football, Williams is retiring at 27

    DAN LE BATARD

    dlebatard@herald.com


    Ricky Williams is retiring.

    The 27-year-old running back's seismic decision to leave football in his prime, a week before the start of Dolphins training camp, is perfectly in keeping with his personality. It is outsized, enigmatic, brave, unpredictable, complex, interesting, selfish and surprising enough to leave your mouth hanging open.

    And, of course, different.

    Above all, right to the very end of a football career that will be finished when he formally faxes his retirement papers to the NFL offices early this week, Williams always has been relentlessly different.

    ''I'm finally free,'' Williams said by cellphone from Hawaii. ``I can't remember ever being this happy.''

    Why is he doing this?

    Well, why not?

    This is how Williams has always floated through life, going wherever the wind guided him, so he never really fit within the drill-sergeant rigidity of football with all its rules, regimen and stopwatches. He relished the playing part with a child's enthusiasm, but the business part was always much too adult for him. Williams has an artist's sensibilities and sensitivities, forever fascinated by things beyond that ball, and he is no longer interested in playing his life away.

    He wants to study, learn, search, travel, question, write, meditate, read, wander, find himself, climb mountains, take pictures of waterfalls and be Dad without being interrupted by another 8 a.m. meeting to dissect film.

    His heart isn't in it anymore, in other words. And, in both running style and lifestyle, his body will not go if his heart doesn't lead. Williams doesn't do indifference. He either plays passionately, as he did for two bruising seasons as a Dolphin, or not at all. So not-at-all is what it'll have to be, even as this Dolphin season appears to be wrecked before it gets started, because Williams figures he'll either get injured or hurt the team playing in a sport this savage without motivation.

    He thought he might be able to make it through this one last season for his teammates, and only for them, but couldn't convince himself of it even after weeks of trying. He says he plans to call each of them individually in the coming weeks to apologize. He can't play for others. Williams has always been a locker-room loner, alone with his excellence, sitting apart from teammates even on the bench during games, and now he puts yet more distance between himself and those who play.

    ''I just don't want to be in this business anymore,'' said Williams, finished after just five NFL seasons. ``I was never strong enough to not play football, but I'm strong enough now. I've considered everything about this. Everyone has thrown every possible scenario at me about why I shouldn't do this, but they're in denial. I'm happy with my decision.''

    LONG TIME COMING

    This is not some whim. Williams has been weighing this with friends for months and finally told an angry, crushed Dave Wannstedt on Friday night. Williams' decision was clinched while on tour recently in Europe with rocker friend Lenny Kravitz, who is so consumed with working and fame's responsibilities that he doesn't have much time for joy, or for himself. That's not what Williams wants to become of his own life. Williams says with conviction that no one will talk him into coming back, even though Wannstedt continues to try.

    This isn't about any money dispute or leverage or the recent headlines involving his marijuana use. It's about outgrowing games. Williams' conviction has grown into clarity in recent weeks. He kept finding examples for why he should do this everywhere he looked -- backstage with Kravitz and Snoop Dogg, while befriending homeless people in Australia, on Jamaican beaches with Bob Marley's carefree kids.

    ''The people in Jamaica, living in these little tin shacks, they were the happiest people I've ever seen,'' Williams said. ``This is an opportunity to be a real role model. Everyone wants freedom. Human beings aren't supposed to be controlled and told what to do. They're supposed to be given direction and a path. Don't tell me what I can and can't do. Please.''

    Society and the NFL say he can't smoke marijuana, for example, and that's one of the many rules of his confining workplace he will no longer abide. He says without apology he has gotten around NFL drug tests with a special liquid players all over the league consume by the gallon before tests to avoid detection. He says he simply didn't drink it before getting busted in 2002, and that he still hasn't heard on his appeal of a second failed test, but that the recent marijuana issues have nothing to do with his decision to retire beyond confirming how stifling celebrity can be and how ill-fitting the NFL is for him.

    FAME AND MISFORTUNE

    Williams has never been interested in money or fame, finding the former empty and the latter corrupt. He keeps thousands of dollars in hundreds in the unlocked glove compartment of an unlocked car and gives it away to strangers. He cut off his famous dreadlocks while on an Australian vacation (even though it cost him $750,000 from Gillette advertisers who wanted to capture the moment) because he craved the new anonymity baldness gave him.

    He has formed a friendship with controversial Jim Brown, another running back who retired in his prime to pursue a movie career. And he was moved recently by a long conversation with former Minnesota running back Robert Smith, who also quit at his peak to pursue a medical career because he thought the beatings that running backs took were inhumane. But what Williams is doing is still unprecedented. No great back -- not Brown, not Barry Sanders, not Smith -- has ever retired this young and this healthy.

    Williams is putting his cars and Miami homes up for sale. He already donated some of the money from them to a local school.

    He says he'll probably spend the upcoming football season traveling abroad -- he hasn't gone to Dolphin workouts in weeks -- but doesn't have a concrete plan for his future.

    ''I have no idea what I'm going to do,'' he said. ``Who knows? I just know it is going to be fun. Going to school again. Going to travel for the next six months. I'm half-way intelligent. I'll figure something out. I don't feel like I have to explain myself to anyone. All I end up doing anyway is giving rebuttals, and it is boring. I don't want to do it anymore. That's it. I don't want to do this anymore. If people really care about me, that would be enough for them.''

    It isn't, of course. People care about the Dolphins a lot more than they care about him, so he'll become a traitor or worse in South Florida, just like that. That's another reason Williams disdains fame: Real love isn't this fickle. So he isn't terribly bothered that what was always a conditional, counterfeit sentiment (the volume of the cheering going up or down depending on his production) will now turn into a poison he won't even hear abroad. He says he plans to live in another country, and soon.

    ''The only people I'm accountable to are to my three children, and they love me anyway,'' Williams said. ``Whenever you are afraid to do something, you should do it. I've been afraid of this for too long. I'm not anymore.''

    He was at the airport in Hawaii as he talked on his cell phone Saturday night, bound for a flight somewhere to Asia. The airline agent asked him for his return ticket to the United States. He said he did not have one.

    Abandoning the team a week before camp? Traitor? Lunatic? Williams doesn't care what anyone thinks of him anymore. He is following a voice only he can hear. He is done doing what other people want, done answering to yelling coaches who care only about their own self-preservation, done being hit by 350-pounders, done waking up in pain, done being a piece of meat, done being confined, done being polluted by fame and fortune and football.

    He's done.

    Perfectly Ricky, right up until the end.

    He's done running for money.

    Now he runs free.


  3. #3
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    Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    Never really liked the guy.

  4. #4
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    Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    Well, it's a good thing he announced this before my three fantasy football league drafts.
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    Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    I think Miami will be better because they will actually have to pass the ball now and I think that Minor will be alrite as a starter.

  6. #6
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    Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    From ProFootballTalk.com....

    A league source tells us that, if Ricky Williams' contract contains language conditioning his signing bonus upon his fulfillment of the deal (a provision found in most NFL deals), then Williams owes the Dolphins in 2004 the sum of $1,249,085, which represents this season's piece of the bonus money he previously received due to his premature retirement.

    This specific issue first arose when Barry Sanders abruptly retired from the Lions prior to the 1999 season. Sanders was required by an arbitrator to pay back to the team $1.83 million per year for the remainder of his contract, the prorated annual amount of his bonus.

    More recently, the Broncos recovered bonus money from receiver Eddie Kennison, who quit on the team in the middle of the 2001 season.

    Earlier in the offseason, the Ravens were prepared to force receiver Terrell Owens to repay bonus money if he refused to report to the team following a trade that ultimately was scuttled via the settlement of his grievance seeking free agency status. Currently, the Packers could recover more than $3 million from cornerback Mike McKenzie if he makes good on threats to retire in lieu of continuing to play for Green Bay.

    None of the published reports regarding Williams' retirement have addressed this no-brainer issue, which could give the Dolphins significant leverage in their efforts to get Williams to change his mind.
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