|Another twist in the Ricky saga: He's back|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 15 November 2007 23:34|
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -Ever pensive, Ricky Williams wrestled with the first question from reporters, as if he was still seeking a reason to return from his 1 1/2-year suspension.|
``My motivation for coming back to the NFL? Could we start with an easier question?'' Williams said with a chuckle.
His complicated career took another turn Thursday when Miami Dolphins coach Cam Cameron decided to welcome Williams back. He'll be on the field starting with Monday's workout, and his first game in nearly two years could come a week later, Nov. 26 at Pittsburgh.
Repeatedly sidelined by the NFL's drug program, Williams has played in only 12 games since retiring in the summer of 2004. He offered no pledge that his latest chapter with the Dolphins would end on a high note.
``I'm not necessarily looking for it to end on a high note,'' he said. ``It's just going to help me get to where I want to be. I want to get on with my life. I want to go back to school and pursue a profession outside of football. Playing football is the best way for me to get there.''
The Dolphins were thinking more in terms of Williams getting them to the end zone. Maybe that will happen, too.
Williams has tested positive for marijuana at least four times since the Dolphins acquired him in 2002. Miami's franchise-record playoff drought began that same year.
But it's difficult to imagine how Williams could sabotage a team that's 0-9, and so the long, strange trip continues.
As part of the league drug program, Williams underwent therapy for the past 5 1/2 months in Boston. He declined to discuss the treatment, but said he was confident drug testing won't derail his latest comeback.
``If I wasn't confident, I wouldn't have even tried,'' he said. ``I wouldn't have made the effort.''
After his most recent suspension was lifted Wednesday by the league, he flew to South Florida and met Thursday morning with Cameron.
``The meeting was positive,'' Cameron said.
For months, Miami's first-year coach had been mum regarding whether he would want Williams. In May, when discussing Williams' latest relapse, the coach said it's difficult to salvage the careers of troubled players.
He conceded an 0-9 record altered his perspective.
``Circumstances have changed,'' Cameron said. ``However, you still rely on the leadership of your locker room and quality professionals like we have, and you get their input, and that was the major part of the decision.''
Those endorsements of the decision were as quirky as Williams.
``I don't know if I had a daughter if I'd want her to date him,'' linebacker Channing Crowder said, ``but as a football player, as a teammate, I love him.''
Other teams were buzzing about Williams, too. Fellow University of Texas alum Cedric Benson, a third-year pro with the Chicago Bears, described Williams' comeback as ``awesome.''
``We've got this thing that when he gets in the league we're going to compete to see who's the better running back,'' Benson said. ``We always wanted to see who's the better running back.''
Ricky's return created a familiar circus-like atmosphere at the Dolphins' complex. Photographers and cameramen began a stakeout across the street at 7 a.m. and awaited the arrival of the elusive running back. He showed up around 11, riding in a team van.
During Cameron's daily news conference, there was not a single reference to rookie quarterback John Beck, who'll make his NFL debut Sunday at Philadelphia. Instead it was almost all about Williams.
``He won't be a cancer in the locker room,'' linebacker Zach Thomas said. ``He has always had a good work ethic. He has always been a good person and a good teammate. Everybody deserves a second and third chance.''
And fourth and fifth, apparently, at least in this case.
AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman contributed to this report.
50% Bonus for New Players
Are You Ready for Hoops?
Get Your Message In Front of
Thousands of Sports Fans Now
Live Odds, Scores, Injuries
And More - 14 Day Free Trial!
Easiest Time to Play is Now!
Nearly 66% Lifetime