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SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

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  • SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    Pre-camp decision stuns Dolphins 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,'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
    Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

    Ricky Williams: 'I'm retiring'

    Fed up with football, Williams is retiring at 27


    [email protected]

    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.''


    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.


    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.

    Keeping the Rams Nation Talking


    • #3
      Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

      Never really liked the guy.


      • #4
        Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!

        Well, it's a good thing he announced this before my three fantasy football league drafts.


        • #5
          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
            Re: SHOCKING: Ricky Williams Retires!


            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.


            Related Topics


            • RamWraith
              Williams still teaching, working hard off field
              by RamWraith
              Ted Lewis New Orleans Times-Picayune June 12, 2008

              In his current role as the pastor of the church he recently founded in his adopted home of St. Louis, Aeneas Williams often tells the story of how at age 40 Moses found it in his heart to visit his brother Aaron, thus beginning the saga of Exodus.

              Williams usually uses the story in the context of how he and wife Tracy started The Spirit of the Lord Family Church in his basement last year when he was almost the same age as Moses.

              But it also refers to something that happened two decades ago - when Williams, after two years of attending Southern University as an ordinary student after graduating from Fortier High School in New Orleans, felt moved in his heart to walk on the football team just prior to the start of the season.

              "Michael Lindsay, a friend of mine from Fortier, asked me why I wasn't playing, and what he said really struck with me," said Williams, who had last played on Fortier's undefeated 1985 team.

              "And my uncle, William Whitson, was always saying to, 'Nikki, why are you not playing football?'

              "Before, I never would go along with them. But this time, for whatever reason, I said, 'OK.' "

              And unlike Moses, Williams at that point was not a reluctant warrior.

              "In other areas, when I get a desire to do something, I might question it," he said. "But in football, I didn't."

              Good thing.

              In just five weeks Williams was starting at cornerback for the Jaguars. Three years later, the Arizona Cardinals made Williams their third-round draft choice, launching an NFL that career that last 14 seasons, saw him named All-Pro five times, appear in eight Pro Bowls and selected to the league's 1990s All-Decade Team. Those are credentials sure to land Williams in Canton as soon as he's eligible.

              Already, he's scheduled for induction in the Cardinals' Ring of Honor this fall.

              But before that, Williams is about to be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches. He was elected by acclimation in his first year of eligibility.

              "All of this recognition is a tremendous honor," Williams said. "But my goal as a player has always to get myself better individually in order to assist my team getting better as a group."

              That wasn't always easy.

              As Moses did, Williams spent years in the wilderness - namely Arizona where in his 10 seasons the Cardinals lost nearly twice as many games as they lost, making the playoffs only once.

              Traded to St. Louis on draft day in 2001, Williams helped transform one of the league's worst defenses into one of its best.

              The Rams went to Super Bowl XXXVI in the Superdome where they lost to New England, 20-17.

              Williams' play that season...
              -06-14-2008, 05:21 AM
            • DJRamFan
              Heisman hopeful Williams keeps Memphis running smoothly
              by DJRamFan
              Aug. 31, 2005
              By Dennis Dodd
              CBS Senior Writer
              Tell Dennis your opinion!

              MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- So what does the most famous man in Memphis -- the big timer with his own stock car -- drive around town?

              "A '97 Blazer," DeAngelo Williams said. "It has more dings. ... The windshield wipers don't work. I have more bumps and bruises. ..."

              Williams might drive a junker, but in Memphis the senior tailback also drives the bus, the one that leads Tigers football out of anonymity.

              DeAngelo Williams is among the best football players Memphis has ever produced. (AP)
              That's no small feat here in the middle of SEC country, where Memphis football isn't even the biggest thing on campus. It might start with what was arguably the biggest offseason story in college football -- a 1/24th-scale model car that sprung from the mind of Memphis sports information director Jennifer Rodriguez.

              Her husband, a big NASCAR fan, collects car models. She got the idea while trying to think of a unique way to kick off Williams' Heisman candidacy. Rodriguez came up with the vision for the 8-inch by 2-inch, blue and gray No. 20 car -- made in China, for ages 3 and up -- to hype the nation's leading all-purpose runner last year.

              But a fun idea became much more than that. The cars became this summer's Beanie Babies. Everyone had to have one. They were mailed to Heisman voters as a promotion. Fans and collectors jumped on them like they were the last helicopters out of Saigon.

              It has become a lesson in economics. The original supply of 3,500 cars priced at $35 were snatched up by boosters and fans long ago. The school has made at least a $40,000 profit. The car was officially a collector's item before Monday's season opener against Ole Miss.

              In July, Memphis president Shirley Raines needed six more. A cocktail party acquaintance offered athletic director R.C. Johnson $150 for one. Cars have begun showing up on eBay for $200.

              "We're out of them," Johnson said.

              It became a lesson in guerilla marketing. The trend among SIDs lately is that less is more. All the Heisman T-shirts, postcards and bumper stinkers were thought to turn off the media. Why waste the money? Major programs market themselves by being on TV each week.

              Will the car make any difference in the Heisman race? Yes and no. It might get Williams a trip to New York as a finalist but the odds against any player from a non-BCS school winning the hardware are huge.

              Memphis isn't on TV each week and remains overshadowed by John Calipari's basketball program. But maybe that's not the point. The car got Williams and the Tigers mentioned on national television, in major newspapers and, well, on every major sports Internet...
              -09-01-2005, 06:26 PM
            • RamsFan4ever
              Ex-Argonaut Joe Theismann calls Williams 'disgrace to game'
              by RamsFan4ever

              Ricky Williams will continue to play professional football with the CFL's Toronto Argonauts while he is suspended for one year by the NFL, and one high-profile ex-Argonaut isn't thrilled by the move.

              Former quarterback Joe Theismann, who began his professional career with the Argonauts and later went on to star in the NFL with the Redskins, said he was "embarrassed right now to be a Toronto Argonaut" in an interview with ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd.

              "I don't ever want to be mentioned in the same breath as Ricky Williams as a football player. He's a disgrace to the game. The man doesn't deserve to play football. He should go on with his life and treat his drug addictions or go do whatever he wants to do. He's been suspended from the National Football League on multiple occasions. Doesn't anybody have any class anywhere? For gosh sakes, let the kid go do what he wants to do. He doesn't want to play football," Theismann, who is part of ESPN's Monday Night Football announcing crew, said.

              Williams was suspended by the NFL for the entire 2006 season following a fourth positive drug test. But the Dolphins gave him permission to play this year in the CFL, and he signed with Toronto on Sunday.

              Theismann, while calling Williams a "good kid" said he believes that the running back has had too many chances.

              "We have rules in the National Football League. It's real simple. Don't do drugs and you can play. It's a privilege to be able to play professional football. It's not some rite of passage. He's insulted the Miami Dolphins after they took him back and gave him a chance to play. Now he insults the intelligence of everybody that thinks that doing drugs is OK. To me, it's the wrong message to send to kids. It's the wrong thing to be doing, and the Toronto Argonauts have embarrassed themselves as an organization signing him," Theismann said.

              Toronto has won the Grey Cup -- the CFL championship -- 15 times, most recently in 2004. The Argonauts were 11-7 last season.
              -05-30-2006, 06:51 PM
            • Nick
              Williams turns down offer to serve suspension, return in '05
              by Nick
              Williams turns down offer to serve suspension, return in '05

              MIAMI - Ricky Williams rejected a deal that would have allowed him to serve a four-game drug suspension this season and return to the NFL next year.

              "Ricky indicated to me that he is no longer interested in resuming his career at this time," Williams' lawyer, David Cornwell, said in a statement e-mailed to the Associated Press on Thursday.

              The 1998 Heisman Trophy winner needed to let the league know by Thursday so he could be moved from the retired list to the suspended list by the deadline. He would have served the suspension for the Miami Dolphins' final four games, starting Dec. 12 at Denver.

              "David Cornwell informed our office that Ricky Williams has declined to accept the terms of his reinstatement," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.

              Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene wouldn't comment, saying the matter is between Williams and the NFL.

              Williams, 27, stunned his team by retiring shortly before Miami opened training camp in July. The Dolphins filed a lawsuit in federal court against the running back, seeking the $8.6 million an arbitrator ruled he owes the team for breaching his contract. Williams is fighting the decision.

              He is now enrolled in a 17-month course at the California College of Ayurveda in Grass Valley, Calif., studying holistic medicine.

              The talks to allow Williams back into the league involved a promise to return to the field next season and to re-enter the NFL drug program immediately, including being tested on a regular basis.

              "The NFL sought assurances that Ricky is indeed committed to playing," Cornwell said.

              Williams gave up the $5 million he would have earned this season, which would have been his sixth in the NFL, amid reports he faced suspension for substance abuse.

              He rushed for 3,225 yards in two seasons with the Dolphins, including a league-leading 1,853 yards in 2002. Miami acquired him from New Orleans after the 2001 season.

              But without Williams, the Dolphins have gone into a tailspin. They're 2-9 and will finish with a losing record for the first time since 1988.

              Williams has social-anxiety disorder and was a spokesman for an anti-depressant. He said marijuana helped him after he stopped using the anti-depressant....
              -12-04-2004, 10:15 AM
            • Nick
              Ricky Williams needs to save up his money...
              by Nick
              Dolphins may ask Ricky for $8 million refund
              By Alex Marvez
              Staff Writer
              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.

              -07-27-2004, 06:47 PM