It would seem that we will be bidding farewell to Ricky Williams once again, and hopefully for the last time. According to Jason La Canfora, Williams has informed the team of his intention to retire.
Williams ends his career with an impressive 10,009 career rushing yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. La Canfora indicated on Twitter that the team would have kept Williams for another season.
As good as he was on the field, Ricky Williams will be remembered for his off-field behavior. It started when Mike Ditka, then the New Orleans Saints’ head coach, traded the Saints entire 1999 draft class for the opportunity to draft Williams. The trade is often cited as the most lopsided trade in NFL history.
Although unconventional, the trade wasn’t necessarily detrimental to Williams’ career. Marijuana use, however, was. He tested positive for the drug in December of 2003. Then in 2004, with training camp just around the corner, Williams announced that he intended to retire from pro-football, an announcement that still baffles us today.
After multiple subsequent failed drug testes, Williams was able to secure reinstatement into the NFL in 2007. Since re-entering the league, he’s been relatively quiet, but he’s also been productive in the reliever role, especially since moving to the Ravens.
It doesn’t take a genius to know how Williams will be remembered. His narrative is a tale of one of the strangest, yet remarkable careers in recent memory. Some people still hold a grudge against him, but I have to salute him for his willingness to do his own thing. I’ll remember him for leaving the league for the final time on his own terms. Thank you and good luck Ricky Williams.