Skip

Re-Meet Ricky Williams
November 20, 2009 4:17 PM   Subscribe

In case you haven't, please meet Ricky Williams. He has had one of the most fascinating careers of any professional athlete: he was a high school phenom in Football, Baseball, Track, and Wrestling. He played FOUR YEARS of minor league baseball with the Philadelphia Phillies organization. He was a two time all American at Texas and winner of the Heisman Trophy. He translated that success into a great early start in the NFL. He also grew up in an abusive home. He has tested extremely high in both IQ and diagnostic tests. He is incredibly shy and has been diagnosed social anxiety disorder. Hating the effects of medications, he opted for Marijuana claiming that it had a much better effect.

A string of positive drug tests forced him to leave the NFL. He wasn't broken up about it. He joined in the CFL. He suffered a string of debilitating injuries. One of his best friends is a homeless guy named Mystic steve. They hiked the Himalayas together. He rejoined the dolphins in 2008 as a complimentary player and he grew an awesome beard. With his teammate Ronnie Brown, Ricky and the Dolphins have developed an entirely new and popular offense for the NFL called the Wildcat, which helped turn a 1-15 team around and have great success the last two years. Why mention this all today? With an injury to Ronnie Brown, last night the 32 year old running surprised just about everyone by rushing for 119 yards and 3 TDs in a great 24-17 win over the Carolina Panthers, a remarkable achievement for someone who was considered a washed up, crazy pothead.

A remarkable career indeed.
posted by Lacking Subtlety (36 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
"He has tested extremely high ..."

Seriously. He likes the weed.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:21 PM on November 20, 2009


Ha ha as a fellow longhorn, "hook'em" ricky.
posted by djduckie at 4:21 PM on November 20, 2009


So easy to hate on CFL players but Flutie Flakes people! The CFL is a real league - it's not just for NFL wannabes.

And seriously, anyone can score in four downs.
posted by GuyZero at 4:21 PM on November 20, 2009


Run an animal cruelty ring? Well, you'll have to do your time, but don't worry we'll keep your seat warm until you get back.

Get high once in a while? OMG! WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF TEH CHILDRUNS?! OUT OF THE LEAGUE WITH YOU!

What a country...
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 4:25 PM on November 20, 2009 [28 favorites]


I love Ricky Williams. So very, very different from the typical professional athlete.

What your writeup doesn't mention is that when he quit the NFL, he traveled the world (well, you touched on that), and learned holistic medicine. He's basically a hippie, and I mean that as a compliment.

The Dolphins sued him for breach of contract, and won, which forced his unretirement.

Can anyone think of similar athletes? The only one that jumps to mind is Bill Lee and maybe Bill Walton.
posted by mreleganza at 4:26 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Wildcat isn't "entirely new" but a derivative of the option offense. It descends directly from the Wing-T offense.

And speaking of SAD sufferers, Zack Greinke pulled off an even more amazing recovery this week, going from quitting baseball to winning the Cy Young.
posted by dw at 4:28 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yikes. All those links and you don't have the magazine cover with Ditka in a tuxedo and Ricky in a wedding dress? Link.
posted by bukvich at 4:34 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


So easy to hate on CFL players but Flutie Flakes people! The CFL is a real league - it's not just for NFL wannabes.

And seriously, anyone can score in four downs.
posted by GuyZero at 4:21 PM on November 20 [+] [!]


Agreed! Much love for the CFL! Flutie isn't the only example of great crossovers either. Don't forget about the hall of famer, Warren Moon! The CFL helped establish him as an "intelligent" quarterback and not just an athlete, which of course surprised the racially ignorant folks who ran teams at the time.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:35 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


As another Longhorn, I'm glad Ricky's getting some respect again.

But goddammit, I am so sick of hearing the term "Wildcat" this year. (Or "WildHorn," or "WildBoy," or WildAnything.) I want a moratorium on all derivations.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:43 PM on November 20, 2009


I don't watch football but I have seen some interviews and a short doc. on Ricky and he really is a lovable guy.
posted by vronsky at 4:57 PM on November 20, 2009


Lacking SubtletyPoster: "Don't forget about the hall of famer, Warren Moon!"

This is where I point out that that should be "Hall-of-famer in both leagues" (!).
posted by ArgentCorvid at 4:57 PM on November 20, 2009


The clips of him giving interviews in the locker room with his helmet on (and little else) because he was so shy were adorable. just made me smile.
posted by vronsky at 4:59 PM on November 20, 2009


great post on an exceptional athlete and person.
posted by gnutron at 5:05 PM on November 20, 2009


I was at UT the same time as Ricky Williams. He was living in an apt complex, downtown Austin, I believe, where a couple of friends of mine lived. One was this GORGEOUS Indian chick. Ricky had the hots for her big time, but she wasn't interested in him. The complex had a pool and hot tub. One night, my gorgeous friend was relaxing in the hot tub, and Ricky got in with her. He's hitting on her, the conversation is going on for a while, he's talking up his smooth game, etc. etc. She decides to fuck with him a little bit, and tells him, "Suck my toes." So he starts going to town on her toes, and eventually she laughs and goes away, leaving poor Ricky alone.

I tell you this story because I made out with the chick like 3 or 4 times, and she always wanted to sleep with me, but I turned her down (long story). So yeah, Ricky Williams, you may be Mr. Big Football Star making lots of money, but I messed around with that chick that you had the hots for! TAKE THAT!!

But he is a great player and a nice guy, and I'm glad to see him doing well.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:12 PM on November 20, 2009


Ricky Williams is indeed a gifted player. The success-at-his-age angle is a bit of a misnomer. Edgerrin James, taken one spot ahead of Williams in the same draft class, has had 1,000 more carries than Williams.

Williams is gifted. But because of his layoffs, he hasn't taken the sheer beating that a top-flight running back the same age has.

In other words, it ain't the years. It's the miles.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:13 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Neat post. I'm not a football (or any other sport) fan at all, but Williams has always struck me as interesting.

(I assume the Wikipedia link was not supposed to go directly to a citation?)
posted by brundlefly at 5:20 PM on November 20, 2009


Can anyone think of similar athletes?

Not really similar, except for being a strange bird for his time: Rube Waddell (not to be confused with the super cool band Rube Waddell).
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:23 PM on November 20, 2009


The Wildcat was hot last season, but the Wildcat revolution fails to materialize in NFL this season.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:25 PM on November 20, 2009



Ricky Williams is indeed a gifted player. The success-at-his-age angle is a bit of a misnomer. Edgerrin James, taken one spot ahead of Williams in the same draft class, has had 1,000 more carries than Williams.

Williams is gifted. But because of his layoffs, he hasn't taken the sheer beating that a top-flight running back the same age has.

In other words, it ain't the years. It's the miles.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:13 PM on November 20 [+] [!]



Very true, but there's an opposing dichotomy to these things as well. Missing time playing NFL caliber football truly makes you rusty. There's plenty of examples, but most specifically Mike Vick. Not just his passing skills either, the dude lost his legs... then again he was in the joint.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:30 PM on November 20, 2009


But goddammit, I am so sick of hearing the term "Wildcat" this year. (Or "WildHorn," or "WildBoy," or WildAnything.) I want a moratorium on all derivations.

haters

On topic, I was in Austin in the late 90's and Ricky's face was everywhere. Glad to hear things turned out fairly well for him.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:50 PM on November 20, 2009


Fantastic post.

Doublewhiskey, I don't really have an issue with the handling of the Vick situation. He did a really bad thing, he did his time, and he's been humble and remorseful about the whole thing. But yeah, I totally agree that the strength of the response to Ricky Williams has been absurd as compared to someone like Ray Lewis.
posted by rollbiz at 6:04 PM on November 20, 2009


You know, I had a chance to pick him up on my fantasy league, but just kept on waiting for him to crack. He hasn't. My bud got 28 points from Ricky last night!
posted by Mojojojo at 6:09 PM on November 20, 2009


Thanks for that wikipedia link, Saxon Kane. I'd never heard of Rube Waddell, and was greatly amused by this quote from a baseball historian:
(Waddell) began that year (1903) sleeping in a firehouse in Camden, New Jersey, and ended it tending bar in a saloon in Wheeling, West Virginia. In between those events he won 22 games for the Philadelphia Athletics, played left end for the Business Men's Rugby Football Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, toured the nation in a melodrama called The Stain of Guilt, courted, married and became separated from May Wynne Skinner of Lynn, Massachusetts, saved a woman from drowning, accidentally shot a friend through the hand, and was bitten by a lion."
An eventful year, indeed.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:09 PM on November 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


One thing you forgot to mention is that, after Dikta foolishly traded all of the Saints picks to draft Williams (it was largely for the show of doing so, but even 7th round picks can stick with the team, and the Saints had a lot of holes), Williams chose to be represented by Master P, who "negotiated" possibly the worst rookie contract ever. As a number one pick, especially with having had so many draft picks traded for him, Williams had outstanding leverage, yet ended up with a contract requiring him, essentially, to be the best running back in NFL history in order to meet the goals. As a number one pick, his base salary was actually league minimum. I always wondered if he really wanted to come back to football, or if he'd actually run out of money.

Had he signed a standard contract as a rookie, he might have just kept wandering, rather than returning to the league after losing the lawsuit with the Dolphins. Like a high version of everyone's favortie kung-fu monk.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:16 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Run an animal cruelty ring? Well, you'll have to do your time, but don't worry we'll keep your seat warm until you get back.

Get high once in a while? OMG! WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF TEH CHILDRUNS?! OUT OF THE LEAGUE WITH YOU!

What a country...


Actually, they both (Vick and Williams) left the league but now they are both back. I don't know from your post whether you think that is better or worse for the country.
posted by Slap Factory at 6:57 PM on November 20, 2009


Awesome post. I am so, so happy to see Ricky doing so well, and not just because I'm a long suffering Dolphins fan. He's just such a great, interesting dude.

One link you missed: his 2004 appearance on 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace.

And seriously, anyone can score in four downs. Dude, anyone can score when you give your wide receivers a running start and have a friggin' 20 yard deep end zone. Bring it, chumpzilla!
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:18 PM on November 20, 2009


Williams put it best when he said, "So when is it okay for me to stop playing football? When would it have been okay for me to stop playing football? When my knees went out? When my shoulders went out? When I had too many concussions? Like what? When is it okay? I'm just curious, because I don't understand. When is it okay to not play football anymore?"

This seriously might be the wisest quote from an NFL player I've ever heard.
posted by escabeche at 7:52 PM on November 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Great post, I have lots of love for Ricky.

Can anyone think of similar athletes?
Bison Dele, (nee Brian Williams) RIP.
posted by vito90 at 7:59 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


True story: Ricky Williams hit a golf ball that broke my Mom's window and gave her a fake phone number. Bit of a dick move.
posted by christhelongtimelurker at 8:50 PM on November 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ricky has been to Martha's Vineyard very, very often... he's got the sort of cerebral, adaptable mind Bill Belichick loves to see in a football player or coach. If Bill Parcells weren't running the Dolphins, he'd be a Patriot right now, guaranteed.

Marijuana is less harmful than both alcohol and sugar, if ingested, while providing a better psychotropic experience than either. It's a damn shame the humiliation this man has had to go through because he enjoyed weed. Not steroids, not amphetamines, just simple weed, clearly taken for spiritual reasons.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:33 PM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is he not also a veganist?
posted by joeclark at 8:19 AM on November 21, 2009


This is a superb post!

That is all.
posted by waxbanks at 11:11 AM on November 21, 2009


I loves me some Ricky. There was a super-cool t-shirt with the Heisman pose+dreads. Too bad the Herb is so frowned upon…
posted by lrivers at 2:06 PM on November 21, 2009


He scored 30 points yesterday for my fantasy football team on Thursday, and after my whole team only scored 51 points last week I am very great full that he his back in the NFL.

Also the sports really needs to loosen up on their drug rules. They are profession athletes and watch everything that they eat and drink, if they think that weed is going to have a negative effect on their body then they wouldn't be doing it.
posted by lilkeith07 at 10:15 PM on November 21, 2009


Actually, they both (Vick and Williams) left the league but now they are both back. I don't know from your post whether you think that is better or worse for the country.

You know from my post exactly what I think. Don't insult the both of us.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 11:22 PM on November 24, 2009


I hope this event will not change a bit of the motivation of the people who attempt to study and discover something previously unknown and misunderstood.

We badly need their work, as most of the goods we enjoy today are fruits of research and technological advancement, some of which are absolutely fundamental. It probably wouldn't be possible, for instance, to have 6 billion people all living at the same time on this planet without vaccination and sanitation, but none of these advancement were produced by chance or by waiting for Manna to descend upon people.

I think that complaining about general population being easily misled by some self focused sleazy politicians and by some fame-chasing wannabe journalists isn't likely to produce any desiderable result.

On the contrary, that may turn some researcher into people behaving in a fashion that helps some spindoctor in their job of representing researchers as a groups of "evil eliteists", secretely hating ignorant masses who dare not to recognize their efforts.

But how could anybody recognize without first having an understanding of what is going on and why so much is sometimes owed to guys who spend entire lifes studying ? Most people (and that surely includes so called "well learned" individuals) certainly could use more Richard Dawkins, more Carl Sagans and other people who are able to communicate effectively without "dumbing down" concepts or appearing to be condescending and snob.
posted by elpapacito at 6:09 PM on November 25, 2009


« Older Confessions of a Converted Lecturer   |   "The cat... quickly got bored... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post