Monday, May 23, 2005

Such a Strange Dude

Well look at what we have here…Agent Leigh Steinberg is saying that his retired running back Ricky Williams has made the decision to come back and play for the Miami Dolphins. You’ll remember that Ricky just up and walked out on the same Dolphins last July just days before the start of training camp and left Miami out to dry without having a viable replacement for him. Much of what he kept saying then was that he didn't agree with the NFL substance-abuse program, because he felt like he should be allowed to smoke marijuana whenever he wanted. The team finished the season 4-12 and head coach Dave Wannstedt resigned after nine games. But Ricky really likes new head coach Nick Saban and is apparently all set to rejoin his teammates.

Steinberg said that the 2002 NFL leading rusher is “keeping in shape and has been involved in a rigorous training program.” But in February when Ricky was in South Florida for a paternity hearing he was saying that he was “enjoying retirement” and wasn’t quite sure he’d ever play again. What’s the change of heart?

Is he finished with his classes at the California College of Ayurveda where he studied holistic medicine? Is he tired of traveling all over the world and living like a nomad? Or is he realizing that after repaying Miami owner Wayne Huizenga back the $8.6 million in signing bonuses that he owes him and paying all of the child support that he owes that he’ll be broke?

Let’s also not forget that Williams will have to take a four-game suspension if he decides to resume his career because of his existing infringements of the league substance-abuse plan.

I’m a big believer in giving people second chances and for that I would say that the NFL should give Ricky a second chance. But not the Miami Dolphins. If I was a player on that team I would have a very hard time trusting this character. He’s a time bomb just waiting to go off…but not off in a destructive way, off to Asia or Africa. Would you want a guy like that to have your back on a playing field – not knowing if on the third play of the fourth quarter if he just decides that he doesn’t want to play football again? His decision to walk away almost a year ago cost his head coach his job, and made several teammates very susceptible to having to carry loads that they couldn’t handle. I would want no part of him.

If I was Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, Chris Chambers or another veteran on that team with a voice I’d tell Nick Saban to get him back and trade his sorry butt away from that team. I know the guy has the potential to rush for more than 1,500 yards and be a dominant back – but that will only happen if he wants to play. Leigh Steinberg can make whatever references he wants about other guys in the league being in trouble with the law – but none of those guys turned their back on their teammates…an unwritten but very known rule in professional sports.

He’s obviously coming back for the money and if I was a Dolphin I’d want to distance myself from him…let him resume his weird lifestyle and career somewhere else.


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