The troubled career of running back Ricky Williams could find a twist this upcoming season as he will likely get another shot to play in the NFL. Sources say that Williams, who was suspended for the past season for substance abuse, is getting some vibes that the St.Louis Rams may be interested in his services for the 2007 season. Williams played under current Rams coach Scott Linehan in Miami when Linehan was the Dolphins offensive coordinator. He would be brought to the team to be Steven Jackson’s backup.
“I know there would be a certain amount of risk involved, but I would just because he deserves that based on what he was able to do,” Linehan stated Thursday. Of course another thing that would have to be worked out is a deal that would bring Williams to the Rams, as he is currently under contract to the Dolphins. In his last season in the league, Williams ran for 743 yards serving much of 2005 as the main backup to Ronnie Brown in Miami.
The move could be a bigger risk if the Rams are willing to give up a decent amount for Williams. The move to allow Williams to go to St.Louis would likely have something to do with the Dolphins wanting to gain the draft choice back that they will themselves have to give up as they continue talks with Kansas City for quarterback Trent Green. If the Dolphins give up their second or third round choice for Green, they may want that back from the Rams for Williams.
The Rams should remember their troubled history with running backs, as it was not that long ago they put a lot of stock into an overhyped back by the name of Lawrence Phillips. The former Nebraska back came to the Rams in 1996 as their number one draft pick, sixth overall. He played just a season and a half in St.Louis, before being shipped out to the Dolphins after he refused to show up for a team meeting and practice after having his playing time cut. After bouncing around for the next 7 years, Phillips today finds himself in a state prison facing seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Not that Williams is that type of risk, but if the Rams have intentions of giving up more than what Williams is worth at this point in his career, they had better keep that history lesson in the back of their minds. If Williams gets another violation for substance abuse, his career might as well be over, and a team could be burned by the thoughts of him playing at the level he did 3-4 years ago.