According to agent Rickey WILL be in Dolphins camp in July
I wonder how long he lasts at camp before quitting again?
Agent: Ricky absolutely coming to camp
Leigh Steinberg says the slimmed-down running back is excited about returning to the Dolphins.
By Greg A. Bedard
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 21, 2005
The agent for Ricky Williams said Friday the retired running back "absolutely" will report to Dolphins training camp in July.
"Ricky's made the decision he wants to play again," Leigh Steinberg said.
Asked when Williams can be expected to make a final decision about returning to the Dolphins, Steinberg said: "He has. He's expressed his desire to play this year."
Steinberg said he has been in constant contact with Williams in the past several months and especially in the past 10 days, since Williams returned to California from a monthlong stay in India.
Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who said Thursday that Williams was "very, very interested in coming back,'' was not available for comment about Steinberg's remarks. But team spokesman Harvey Greene released a statement from Saban about all topics concerning Williams.
"I'm concerned with the players that are here getting ready for the season, and my conversations with Ricky are confidential," Saban said.
Steinberg said Williams has spoken several times to Saban in recent days.
"He feels a very natural rapport with coach Saban, and I think that's a very positive factor,'' Steinberg said.
Although Steinberg insists Williams plans to return, the running back didn't sound as certain in an online chat with a Sports Illustrated reporter Wednesday night. When asked if he planned to play football again, SI.com reported that Williams said, "I honestly do not know.''
The online report also said Williams weighs 195 pounds — about 30 pounds lighter than he weighed in his last season with the Dolphins. Steinberg didn't dispute the player's reported weight.
"He just returned from a respected yoga teaching center in India," said Steinberg, who added that Williams is now a certified yoga instructor. "That is a very strenuous physical discipline which fortunately allowed him to keep in shape. But since he's been back in California, he has been working out."
Despite Williams' uncertainty in the online interview, Steinberg believes he wants to play.
"Ricky never lost his love for football. It's just a question of whether he wanted to play in the NFL," Steinberg said. "And I think in the time away he's realized that he misses it and he's excited about rejoining the Dolphins."
Williams said online that he believes he can play two more seasons.
"I've still got 4,000 yards left in me," Williams wrote, meaning a pair of 2,000-yard rushing seasons. "Who is gonna turn that down?"
Steinberg declined to comment about issues blocking Williams' return to the NFL. He faces a drug suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and he owes the Dolphins $8.6 million for violating his contract through last summer's sudden retirement.
Williams, who reportedly tested positive for marijuana three times, can't rejoin the Dolphins until July because his retirement triggered a one-year suspension under the league's drug policy. Williams is also subject to an in-season suspension and fine.
"He owes a four-game suspension provided he comes back after the one-year anniversary of his retirement," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
A source said Williams is considering challenging the four-game suspension.
Steinberg wouldn't comment about Williams' personal life, but a source who has spoken to Williams said he has been drug- and alcohol-free since he enrolled at the California College of Ayurveda in Grass Valley, Calif., last fall to study holistic medicine.
"If he wasn't going to be in rehab, he was probably in the best place for him," the source said. "They don't believe in any of that stuff there."