Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Former All-Pro running back Ricky Williams has
decided to retire after 11 NFL seasons.
The 34-year-old Williams was a star at the University of Texas and a heralded
first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. He spent the majority of his
pro career with the Miami Dolphins and played his final season with the
"The NFL has been an amazing page in this chapter of my life," Williams said
in a statement released by the University of Texas, where he won the 1998
Heisman Trophy. "I pray that all successive adventures offer me the same
potential for growth, success and most importantly fun. I want to thank all my
fans, teammates, coaches and supporters for the strength they've given me to
overcome so much."
Williams ran for 10,009 yards with 66 touchdowns in 147 NFL games, but he will
also be remembered for his numerous violations of the NFL's drug policy, an
anxiety disorder and a solid final few seasons after coming back from a sudden
retirement and year-long suspension.
The former NFL rushing champion assumed a reserve role with the Ravens this
past season, gaining 444 yards and scoring two touchdowns while backing up Ray
Rice. The news of Williams calling it a career comes two weeks after he said
that he intended to return to the Ravens for the final season of his two-year
"I have to thank Coach [John] Harbaugh and the Ravens organization for the
opportunity they gave me this year," Williams added in the statement. "I had
so much fun and really appreciated the chance to finish on such a great note."
Williams spent his first three NFL seasons with the Saints, who traded all six
of their choices in the 1999 draft, and two picks the following year, to move
up and select the former Texas standout with the fifth overall pick in 1999.
After twice reaching the 1,000-yard plateau with the Saints, Williams led the
NFL with 1,853 rushing yards in his first season with Miami in 2002. He added
1,372 yards the following year, then abruptly retired just before training
camp in 2004.
Williams rejoined the Dolphins in 2005, only after the team had demanded that
he return bonus money for breach of contract. He then was suspended for the
2006 season after his fourth violation of the league's drug policy.
Unable to play in the NFL in 2006, Williams inked a one-year deal with the
Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. With the Argos, he rushed
for 623 yards on 124 carries and caught 24 passes for 193 yards. He also
missed two months of the season due to a broken arm.
Williams played just one game in 2007 before rebounding to rush for 1,121
yards and 11 touchdowns two years later. He was no longer the feature back in
his final season with the Dolphins, totaling only 673 yards in 2010.
His accomplishments at Texas included back-to-back NCAA rushing titles in 1997
and 1998. He is still the school's all-time rushing leader with 6,279 yards.
The Sports Network