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  Ricky Strikes Out
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by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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Canít say Iím surprised, learning from crack ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen that Ricky Williams is still getting stoned. But I am saddened.


A source told Mort that Williams failed a drug test last April, and that the substance detected was marijuana. As such, doctors have advised NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that Ricky is not ready to be considered for reinstatement as his rehab is still in progress. The next checkpoint is reportedly September.


According to Mort, neither the NFL nor the Dolphins will have any comment. Rickyís handlers are also mum at this time.


If all of this is true, and Mortís stellar reputation leaves little doubt that it is, Ricky Williamsí career as a Miami Dolphin is all but over.


We all remember the previous two suspensions, the first for four games the second for a year. The extension of the second suspension is, if true, a called third strike. In life, that means you are out.


No, not out of football but almost certainly out as a Miami Dolphin. We now fully understand why coach Cam Cameron and GM Randy Mueller have been so cautious with regards to commenting on Rickyís return.


They knew. They knew all too well. Thatís why Lorenzo Booker is a Miami Dolphin today, and why his gear is hanging in Rickyís old locker.


The only thing not yet given away is Williamsí #34 jersey, seemingly a mere formality at this point.


Ricky Williams is one of the best football players yours truly has ever seen, a guy with Hall of Fame talent that still makes him one of the Top 5 RBs in the NFL. Sadly, he will never come close to realizing his potential as one of the greatest players in history. We may never know how much his affliction with social anxiety disorder affected his ability to perform.


According to Mortensenís source, social anxiety disorder is ďa real disease and a good percentage of those folks (afflicted) self-medicate with substances like marijuana, often at the moment they are about to have a high level of social interaction.Ē


And, as we all know, the NFL is heavy with social interactions.


Look, Ricky Williams is not an evil person. He is eccentric, and he is a deep thinker. Thereís no crime in either of those things, per se. And, by all accounts, he is a good locker room guy.


But Ricky is also undependable, not self-accountable, and makes very poor life choices; critical flaws in anyone who is counted on to do a job, especially in a team environment.


The Dolphins depended on Ricky twice before. Both times he let the organization and the fans down. One gets the sense there will not be a third time.


Ricky knew what he had to do to clean up his act, and he failed to do it.


Of course, thereís the matter of the $8.6 million that Ricky still owes the Dolphins. With this latest development, it will be interesting to see if owner Wayne Huizenga shoves Cameron and Mueller aside to deal with Ricky in his own way. However, it is doubtful that Ricky can pay the $8.6 million unless he continues to play football.


This leads us to the increasing probability that Williams will be traded away, perhaps to the St. Louis Rams where head coach and former Dolphin offensive coordinator Scott Linehan has expressed an interest.


From purely a football perspective, it makes little sense to deal Williams away. The Dolphins will, at best, gain a 6th round pick in any trade (plus incentives if they can get them). If Williams is reinstated at a later time, his talent is worth much more to them on the field than in a trade.


Mueller knows this all too well. But he also knows that people only deserve so many chances to redeem themselves. And Rickyís had his fair share.


Ironic, isnít it? It was Mueller who, as Saints GM, fleeced Dave Wannstedt in the trade that sent Ricky to Miami. Mueller knew what he had in Williams then, which is why Deuce McAllister was drafted and Ricky subsequently traded. That was five years ago. Now here he is, with Williams back in his lap, his finger on the button yet again.


There seems little doubt now that Mueller will push it once more. He and Cameron are determined to restore the character, class, and winning ways of the Miami Dolphins. With this latest news, it is hard to see how Ricky would fit in.


How can anyone in Dolphin Nation truly say they would be happy to see things end this way? We all expected great things from Ricky. And we did get some of it, especially during that mercurial 2002 season (1.853 yards rushing, 2,216 yards from scrimmage, 17 TDs). Those were some fun times.


Sadly, in the Not For Long league, that was eons ago and a lot of rough road has since been traveled. If what Chris Mortensen reported is indeed true, it is time for the Miami Dolphins to say goodbye to Ricky Williams once and for all.




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