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Ricky Williams is ready to retire, but it may not stick

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

The long, strange NFL trip of Ricky Williams may be over.

Mike Florio reports via a league source that Williams has informed Ravens officials of his plan to retire. We say only that it “may be over” because Florio was told there’s a belief Ricky’s decision to retire won’t stick.

Williams is often full of surprises, and veterans that decide to retire shortly after a devastating playoff loss often change their mind by training camp.

The news comes as a surprise to Baltimore. Williams said a few weeks ago he planned to continue playing and the Ravens would have gladly welcomed him back after a solid 2011 campaign. He was under contract to the Ravens for another season.

If this is really it, Williams concluded one of the most fascinating and often under-appreciated careers in recent NFL history. He’s 26th all-time in rushing yards.

When Williams first “retired” in 2004 to search the globe, it was hard to imagine he would carve out six more seasons, mostly as a hard-working role player.  He was also suspended for all of 2006, but returned to the Dolphins and wound up topping 1,000 yards rushing in 2009 for the fifth time in his career.

The NFL is a less interesting place without Williams in it. But we have a feeling Ricky may not be done running just yet.

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48 Responses to “Ricky Williams is ready to retire, but it may not stick”
  1. trbowman says: Feb 7, 2012 1:29 PM

    Ricky Williams is the man! Gonna miss that dude

  2. jimmymcnultysbottleofjameson says: Feb 7, 2012 1:31 PM

    He was an awesome compliment to Ray and just a stand up class act. Milky rips.

  3. ravensfreak00 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:32 PM

    I personally hope you guys are right and this retirement does not stick because he did a solid job backing up Rice this season. If it is the end for Williams, I will always wonder what could have been with him and his career.

  4. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Feb 7, 2012 1:33 PM

    Run Ricky Run.

  5. ravensfan4life52 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:38 PM

    That’s too bad. He will be missed next year. I hope he changes his mind.

  6. vincentbojackson says: Feb 7, 2012 1:38 PM

    Ed Reed thinks Ricky’s rattled.

  7. cshearing says: Feb 7, 2012 1:42 PM

    Always been a favorite of mine. Good luck, Ricky, with whatever you ultimately decide to do.

  8. verticalface says: Feb 7, 2012 1:43 PM

    I hope he changes his mind. Very interesting guy.

  9. hawkforlife says: Feb 7, 2012 1:45 PM

    And lets hope we never see that wedding dress photo again. He deserves more and my eyes can’t take it.

  10. eaglesnoles05 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:46 PM

    HOF!

    Yes, call me crazy, but I’d like to put every NFL player or coach who, at ANY time DOMINATED his position in the HOF. Why not? Why do we debate people like Parcells, or Cunningham, or now ricky Williams. They were all pretty famous and revered in the NFL, unless you live under a rock in north dakota. Even people under rocks in normal places know parcells should be in the hall. I say run ricky run too. He is the ONLY guy to ever dominate the league at his position, then quit to go smoke pot.

    H O F!

  11. derfshambeaux says: Feb 7, 2012 1:48 PM

    Ricky Williams is one of the most interesting people to play pro football. Anyone who hasn’t seen the 30 for 30 Run Ricky Run needs to watch it. It’ll be the only good thing you ever watch on ESPN.

  12. emmac13 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:49 PM

    He’s high. No really he is.

  13. ebeg420 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:52 PM

    RUN, Ricky….RUN!!!

  14. charliewade says: Feb 7, 2012 1:52 PM

    Uh….. doesn’t he still owe everyone and his brother like millions of dollars in total?

    And wasn’t that the reason why he un-retired to begin with?

  15. iamnotoleanderson says: Feb 7, 2012 1:52 PM

    Greatest college RB of all time.

  16. brett76 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:53 PM

    Man, coming out of Texas, Ricky should have been 1 of the all time greats. His need for Pot & the Iron Mike head game screwed him up. he didn’t accomplish anywhere close to what he should have.

  17. das14 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:55 PM

    I love Ricky. Awesome talent but I still laugh when I think of the interviews he did where he wouldn’t take off his helmet. Then I think of the Ditka post game where he was mad as a hornet. Question : “Mike why are you in such a bad mood?”. Ditka “What do you care?”

  18. olebucknasty says: Feb 7, 2012 1:56 PM

    Hey Ricky, lets smoke one, chill for a bit, and rethink this retirment thing. You’re the only longhorn I ever liked, and that says alot from an Aggie.

  19. jamaltimore says: Feb 7, 2012 1:56 PM

    Odd’s are Ozzie told him his contract wouldn’t be renewed because Anthony Allen will be Ray Rice’s back up and is much cheaper than Ricky.

    Loved having him as a raven but money’s tight and paying a back-up running back 3 mill doesn’t make sense.

  20. tsizzle55atballsohardedu says: Feb 7, 2012 1:57 PM

    I guess Anthony Allen will get a chance in training camp.

  21. johnnyb216 says: Feb 7, 2012 1:57 PM

    I think he still has something to give and I hope he comes to realize that.

  22. chitownjeff says: Feb 7, 2012 1:57 PM

    If ricky retires.. I’ll remember that play against the pats this postseason.. third and three.. ricky runs off tackle right side.. meets up with Devin Mccourty.. one yard short .. Ricky drives mccourty back gets the first down..

    Tough as hell. hella interesting.. not your average jock.. God Bless if its over Ricky!!!

  23. ravensruleandharbaughisgod says: Feb 7, 2012 1:58 PM

    Ricky, don’t lose Ozzie’s number, it’s the only number you need!

  24. paleandpasty says: Feb 7, 2012 2:02 PM

    Please stay, you are still one of the best backs in the league. Also you have those child support payments to worry about.

  25. nflofficeadmin says: Feb 7, 2012 2:07 PM

    One of the true Seekers in professional sport.

  26. ingraven says: Feb 7, 2012 2:08 PM

    Come on Ricky, dont leave us. Just ONE more year and we will get you that Superbowl that the Saints and Dolphins couldnt.

  27. sundaymorningwood says: Feb 7, 2012 2:09 PM

    What? No weed jokes?

    Good luck Ricky!

  28. davidly says: Feb 7, 2012 2:11 PM

    If weed were legal (or the league would look the other way), he’d’ve had a much more productive career.

  29. tommikula says: Feb 7, 2012 2:11 PM

    When he was in college and first got in the NFL, he had one of the most violent running styles and I loved it.

    The guy has come a long way and I appreciate the body of work in his career. Whatever the decision may be he will prosper.

  30. jimr10 says: Feb 7, 2012 2:17 PM

    Call Brett Favre… he can tell you how to retire gracefully..

  31. haileli says: Feb 7, 2012 2:22 PM

    I’m not as fond of the guy as most people. He screwed the Dolphins by retiring just before training camp in 2004. He then found renewed passion for football while coincidentally finding himself in dire financial straits. I do, however, admire the fact that he has been open and honest about his mental illness. I’ll always wonder what he could have been if he was fully focused on football from the beginning.

  32. purplecrowe says: Feb 7, 2012 2:22 PM

    It may not stick as well as those bud’s he’s prolly got…

  33. delpiero1980 says: Feb 7, 2012 2:25 PM

    Shame!!!! Just shy of Emmitt Smith’s rushing record….bummer!!

  34. freedomispopular says: Feb 7, 2012 2:40 PM

    He should wait til right before training camp to retire.

  35. ravenution says: Feb 7, 2012 2:42 PM

    Great career Ricky.

  36. huskersrock1 says: Feb 7, 2012 3:03 PM

    He could have been top 5 all time if it wasn’t for wacky tobacky.

  37. bigvinnyinjax says: Feb 7, 2012 3:07 PM

    How will he ever pay those half dozen baby mama he has? Not to mention his high-priced entertainment choices/habits.

    Good luck with all that Richard.

  38. steelerhatersarelosers says: Feb 7, 2012 3:14 PM

    How anyone can admire this guy is beyond me. He’s a freakin dope head. But then again most of the praise is coming from idiot ravens fans do I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. They love Ray “the killer” Lewis too.

  39. whit0101 says: Feb 7, 2012 3:42 PM

    This is good news/bad news for Ricky’s drug dealer. Good news in that Ricky will have a lot more idle time for smoking weed. Bad news because he will not have that NFL salary to pay for it.

  40. quittsburghstoolers says: Feb 7, 2012 4:03 PM

    He’ll just get some lady knocked up in the
    offseason & that’ll force him to keep playing…

  41. dexterismyhero says: Feb 7, 2012 4:17 PM

    @Imagaysteelerhatersarelosersguy says:Feb 7, 2012 3:14 PM

    How anyone can admire this guy is beyond me. He’s a freakin dope head. But then again most of the praise is coming from idiot ravens fans do I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. They love Ray “the killer” Lewis too.
    ==================================

    He has a mental dysfunction also……U luv Ben right..hail hail black n urine

  42. rdrs68 says: Feb 7, 2012 4:22 PM

    Ricky got a bad rap for using a substance that is enjoyed by millions of NFL fans. It’s way past time to take a mature and wise approach to this non-problem.

  43. ravenator says: Feb 7, 2012 5:06 PM

    Bmore will miss you Ricky, thanks for the memories!

  44. pooflingingmonkey says: Feb 7, 2012 5:26 PM

    @steelerhatersarelosers says: Feb 7, 2012 3:14 PM

    “How anyone can admire this guy is beyond me. He’s a freakin dope head. But then again most of the praise is coming from idiot ravens fans do I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. They love Ray “the killer” Lewis too.”

    Not a Ravens fan in the least, but I loved watching Williams play, especially in his first few years.

    Enjoy your Steel City swill… I mean Beer, hypocrite.

  45. moagecu says: Feb 7, 2012 5:46 PM

    I love everyone complaining that he smoked weed. I would be shocked if everyone on this board hasn’t tried it, but then again the people on this board 24/7 have no lives so wouldn’t know about it. Weed is a joke get over it. If you have those feelings toward Ricky you should hate everyone else in the NFL that’s ever had a beer, easily worse for you.

  46. jc327 says: Feb 7, 2012 6:14 PM

    Despite that up-and-down career he had in Miami, he’ll always be a Dolphin to me and one of my favorite Fin players of all time. Ricky danced to the beat of his own drum, and I think we all gained an appreciation for it in time.

    Hell, I’d love to have him back and see him end his career where he did his best work. But that wouldn’t be Ricky’s style, and I get that.

    Peace, Ricky, whatever you decide to do…

  47. antiochcat says: Feb 7, 2012 7:32 PM

    I hope Ricky sticks around a little longer if for no other reason than that he is a living testimony to the fact that marijuana is not a debilitating drug and will be a thorn in the side of all the ‘Reefer Madness’ hysterics (I’m looking at you, Eric Holder).

  48. randomguy9999 says: Feb 7, 2012 10:17 PM

    Ricky had an interesting ride…. the courage to ignore the conventional and do his own thing… major talent… some significant challenges he overcame…

    today the guy still has some major gas in the tank… DBs avoid taking a block from the guy and he put up 444 on like 6 carries a game…. imagine if he was running full time…. he’s definitely still a 1st string capable guy….

    we’ll miss you Ricky….

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