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That Guy 07-25-2004 01:04 AM

Ricky Williams is retiring
Miami running back Ricky Williams has retired from the NFL after 5 seasons at 27 years old. He is planning on moving on "to bigger and better things."

BIG shocker here, the Dolphins just got shot... 7 picks gone...
Wanstedt is of course, very upset, and they're trying to convince him to come back, but he has said that he has no intention of changing his mind.

(btw, this is in no way a joke... but it is soo very weird.)

skin4Life28 07-25-2004 01:11 AM

Yeah I just saw this to, Unbelievable! Following in the steps of barry Sanders, Jim Brown, and Robert Smith. I guess Dolphin fans better wait till next year. Since travis Minor is the star running back now. Unbelievable!!!

MTK 07-25-2004 01:12 AM

wow, wow and more wow


MTK 07-25-2004 01:14 AM

Dolphins fans are seriously hating life right about now.

How about Betts and a pick for Ogunleye? ;)

SeasonTicketHolder 07-25-2004 01:17 AM

that doesn't sound too bad

MTK 07-25-2004 01:23 AM


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 for free.

SmootSmack 07-25-2004 01:24 AM

What a wild story! Wonder if Eddie George is regretting signing so fast with the Cowboys now. Are there any other running backs even out there?

Well wait there is one.....TRUNG!!!!

By the way, this has nothing to do with this thread but That Guy, which guy are you? [url]http://www.epistemic.org/#[/url]. I tried clicking on the about section for the members, but got an error message

Daseal 07-25-2004 02:00 AM

I had high hopes for the Dolphins this year. Nevermind.

SKINSnCANES 07-25-2004 02:09 AM


That Guy 07-25-2004 02:14 AM

sounds like ricky didn't like being famous, and honestly I can understand that, people caring about what you do, but not who you are, etc...

the dolphins are completely screwed though... that's just about the worst thing that could happen to them. He's lucky though, he has the money to be truly free.

I know which fans aren't using madden's roster update this year ;)

Smootsmack, I'm aaron ;) do keys and karl and I do the behind the scenes stuff (booking, live sound setups, recording etc).

skins009 07-25-2004 03:05 AM

Ricky will be back, i'm calling it right now. The guy has mental issues and a history of depression. He probably had some chemical imbalance when he made this decesion. He'll be back.

saden1 07-25-2004 04:11 AM

OMFG. This is a tragedy equivalent in magnitude to that of Romeo and Juliet. I'm crying and laughing at the same time.

saden1 07-25-2004 04:19 AM

Seriously though, if this makes the guy happy I say more power to him. He has financial freedom and he hates his job. A very dangerous combination for employers. I hope this makes him truly happy.

IowaSkinsFan 07-25-2004 05:03 AM

[QUOTE=skins009]Ricky will be back, i'm calling it right now. The guy has mental issues and a history of depression. He probably had some chemical imbalance when he made this decesion. He'll be back.[/QUOTE]

I'll take that bet in the opposite direction. Civlization may never hear from him again until NFL Films does one of those "Where are they now" segments.

That Guy 07-25-2004 05:42 AM

I'll vote for "gone for good." It appears he really doesn't like football that much, he was just good at it... but I really don't know too much about him. Maybe he's planning on going all Bono and doing charity work... really sounds like he just thought he's looking to do something more important or worthwhile with his life. I reserve the right to be dead wrong though (isn't that ironic?).

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