Last season Ricky Williams made a comeback effort that only lasted one game after being suspended for violating the NFL’s league substance abuse policy for a fourth time. He was suspended for all of 2006, and returned to the Dolphins in 2007 for a Week 12 rainy matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers at their muddy, torn-up Heinz Field. Williams, who was originally listed as the team’s starter, did not start the game but later came in and ran for 15 yards on six attempts while also achieving the Dolphin’s first 1st down of the game. But after a Williams’ run, Steelers rookie Lawrence Timmons planted his foot on the grounded Williams’ back tearing his chest muscle leading to Ricky’s last play of the 2007 season. The Dolphins lost to the Steelers 0-3, and Williams was later placed on the injured reserve leaving questions to his return to Miami in 2008.
On Thursday, Ricky Williams interviewed with Dan Patrick where he opened up on his problems in the past, his favorite pastime activities with marijuana, his family, his reasons for not using drugs anymore, and his future with the Miami Dolphins. The interview rested rumors that Williams would be traded before the 2008 season, and that was further confirmed by recently signed FB Boomer Grigsby, who told the media that Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown will be sharing the rock in Miami in 2008.
In Ricky’s interview with Dan Patrick, Williams spoke on his future with the Dolphins which became more defined on the last day of the 2007 season when Dolphins GM Bill Parcells and RB Ricky Williams talked about the back’s future with the team. Parcells knew what he wanted from Williams, but Ricky was left in suspense whereas a couple of hours before Parcells and Williams met one-on-one to discuss their future, Parcells gathered the Dolphins and told the team, “‘I don’t want any punks. I don’t want any troublemakers. I don’t want any of these things.” Williams told Patrick, “And I’m sitting there, thinking ‘Oops, well, I guess I’m not going to be here.'” But a couple hours later, Parcells called Williams into his office and told Williams that “he wanted me and he really believed in me. He’s been really positive about keeping me involved and inspiring me to really want to contribute this year.”
Williams also told Patrick that if he was a NFL general manager judging Ricky Williams, “I would take an interest in him and I would really try to be there for him. I think by doing that, that’s where trust is built.” That trust is beginning to be built as Ricky told Patrick that Parcells has “really inspired (me) to be here next year.”
Williams, who told Patrick he hasn’t been high in about a year, said he knows the consequences of using marijuana. Using marijuana again will affect his playing future and more. Avoiding times that urge him is what’s difficult. He told Patrick that while reading a book or diving into a conversation, he feels the need to get “deeper into things” by using marijuana. For example, Ricky said that reading philosophical books or Scripture, such as the Bible, would be one of his favorite pastimes under the influence. That urge can be suppressed, said Williams, by “stacking the deck against using” drugs and “just reminding myself how much I have to gain” for his children.
On Williams’ balance of family, work and spirituality, Williams said he needs to “intergrate” them. He enjoys playing football and his work because what more it symbolizes for him. “Playing football is my favorite thing to do in the whole wide world. He said that with notoriety and fame it is “very difficult to maintain your humanity: as (Fans) don’t really look at us (football players) as being people.”
Ricky told Patrick that he wants to be a normal human being and that would be Ricky Williams playing football as a job and really balancing his lifestyle. He told Patrick that everyone should expect “the same thing people’ve been able to expect since I was a freshman in college. He’s going to go out there and play his butt off. He’s going to play physical. He’s not going to complain. He’s not going to gripe, and he’s going to give you 100 percent, day in and day out.'” And finally, when Dan Patrick asked Ricky Williams, “Are you still a great running back?” Williams responded, “You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been a great running back. I think I’ve been someone who’s been trying to improve himself on a daily basis, and that’s what I still am. I mean I’m thirty years old, I came into this league nine years ago, I’ve taken a beating, I’ve taken a lot of carries, I’ve gone through a lot off the field, but you know what? I’m still here. Everything I’ve been through, the ups and the downs (and) if I’m not a great football player, I’m a fighter, I’m resilient and I’m going to overcome.”
So is Ricky Williams a great running back? Let the numbers speak for themselves. Before his 2006-2007 suspension, Williams played for the New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins from 1999 to 2005. He started 73 games while playing in 82 games rushing for a total of 7,098 on 1,763 carries scoring 47 touchdowns and reeling in 246 receptions for 1,899 yards for four touchdowns. Is that great? No? What about his 2002 season when he ran for 1,853 yards on 383 carries scoring 16 touchdowns and 50 catches for 363 yards and one touchdown.