Ricky Williams joins the Ravens

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With Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain gone, the Ravens needed a veteran presence at tailback.

They’ve gotten it with the addition of Ricky Williams.

Per a league source, Williams signed a two-year deal.  It’s worth up to $4 million.

Williams, the 1998 Heisman winner, entered the NFL with a flourish, as former Saints coach Mike Ditka gave up an entire draft and a first-rounder in 2000 to move up seven spots, from No. 12 overall to No. 5.

Williams then donned a wedding dress to pose with Ditka in a tux.  The marriage was annulled after only one year, when Dikta was fired.

Williams rushed for 884, 1,000, and 1,245 yards in his first three NFL seasons.  The Saints shipped him to the Dolphins for a first-round pick and a conditional selection (which ended up being another first-round pick) in 2002.

In his first season with the Dolphins, Williams churned up 1,853 yards on 383 carries.  He added another 392 carries and 1,372 yards in 2003.  Then, in July 2004, he abruptly retired.

He returned the following year and rushed for 743 yards.  Then he was suspended for all of 2006, and he appeared in only one game in 2007.  Williams rushed for 1,121 yards in 2009 in seven starts, his most in six years.

The Dolphins showed little interest in bringing him back for another season.  And so now both Williams and Ronnie Brown, the top two ground-game options of the Tony Sparano/Jeff Ireland are gone.

Though Williams is 34, he could fill an important role behind Ray Rice on the Ravens depth chart, giving the team a bruising, between-the-tackles option to complement the smaller, shiftier Rice.  Coupled with Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach, the Ravens’ run game could make things very interesting this season.

87 responses to “Ricky Williams joins the Ravens

  1. In other news, the price of pot has suddenly risen in the Baltimore area due to an unexplained increase in demand.

  2. Damn damn damn damn damn!

    I was really hoping the Dolphins would bring him back, but as training camps progressed and the deal never happened I figured they weren’t trying very hard.

    He’s still my favorite NFL player.


  3. Whatever Ricky… You could have been so much more had you not been so selfish. I came to love you again the past few years but then you blasted the coach and team on your way out and once again your true colors shown through…

  4. BOOM! Ricky Williams running behind Vontae Leach!!! I like it! We are going to pound the rock and let the D take care of the rest;-)

  5. Great signing by the Ravens. Gives us a good running back to take some of the load off of Rice.

  6. Looks like the running game is staffed up now. And I guess the Ravens are going to rely on the younger receivers too. Interesting. Can’t wait for Thursday’s preseason game to see what they look like.

  7. Now let’s see, “CUT” Willis and save 6M “OR” pick-up Ricky for 2M!!! Now All Together Ravenmaniacs…”J*A*C*K*P*O*T*!!!

  8. Ricky Williams’ career arc looks like a roller coaster. In my fantasy league, he set a record for longest period of time between Fantasy Player of the Week awards (9 years). Yes, I looked it up.

  9. Well at least we’ve removed any doubt about Ratbirds being every bit as desperate at RB as they are at WR.

  10. I’m a Browns fan, and now I sure am glad we drafted Phil Taylor and Sheard, otherwise I would be scared. Actually, I am a little intimidated by the Ravens run game now.

  11. Glad to see someone like Ricky Williams get a job, who seems to have learned from his mistakes, as opposed to Tiki Barber, who continues to make them.

  12. Bad player going to a bad team. I see a trend. This is why the Steelers continue to OWN the league.

  13. Go ahead and hand the division to the Steelers again? What the hell are you thinking, Ozzie? You think Hampton and Harrison and Woodley and Timmons and Troy and Clark and Farrior and Kiesel and Aaron Smith and Ziggy and Foote give a crap about Ricky Williams? He’ll be lucky to get a half-yard a carry against them.

    This is one of the main reasons for the Steelers’ continued success – the annual “shoot-yourself-in-the-face” contest undertaken by the Ravens, Browns and Bengals. Reminds me of the Monty Python “Twit Race”.

  14. As a Ravens season ticketholder, I think I’m gonna go lite up a doobie and celebrate!!

  15. Bad player going to a bad team. I see a trend. This is why the Steelers continue to OWN the league.

    Aren’t the Packers in this league?

  16. Ricky Williams playing in Baltimore.

    Half a mile from the Inner Harbor.

    Cue Music:

    Dunt dunt dunt; dunt DUNT dunt dunt…


  17. Ricky looked like the better back last year in the Miami backfield. (although they were both used horribly by our O.C.) Good luck in Baltimore Ricky. I for one will miss the Dreadlock Demon.

  18. As a Phin fan, all I can say is “heck yes!”. Glad to see Ricky the fumbling Williams go to a team I don’t like.

  19. Unless you are on the team, don’t use “we” to refer to your favorite team. There is no “we”, it’s only “them….” BURNED!!!!

  20. @ticalcaldwell, Daniel Thomas will be the horse, with Bush used more in the passing game and Lex Hilliard as the power back. Korey Sheets will also see some time at RB.

  21. I like Ricky and understood why he left in ’04(Miami’s OL was in shambles). And while he can still give some production, he’s a shell of the ’02/’03 Ricky.

    He’s smart and can hit a hole quickly. But he doesn’t have the speed to get around a corner and he doesn’t have the power to burst through a hole or tackle. He will go down easily.

    I think he’d be better off in a zone blocking scheme like a Green Bay. But Baltimore’s OL may be good enough to let him be a 3rd down guy.

    Ray Rice fantasy owners have nothing to be worried about…

  22. Hmmm good move if it happened 10 years ago.it’s just a bad pickup they shouldve signed portis

  23. Its funny you mention that because the steelers lost to the packers last year right? And have defeated the Seahawks and Cardinals to win their two super bowls, thats really impressive, just keep riding on luck………and the referees of course anyone in the NFL will tell you Pittsburgh gets all of the calls

  24. Now if Baltimore can install some of Carl Spackler’s patented hybrid grass in each end zone (Kentucky bluegrass, featherbed bent, and northern California sinsemilla), Ricky will have a career year.

  25. The Dolphins preseason acquisitions leave lots to be desired! Bush needs a reliever that misses 5 games a season. We have a rookie that led his conference in fumbles and will hit a wall about 12 games into the season. Maybe Lex Hilliard will carry the load? I would have signed crazy Ricky, the same guy that has been mentoring crazy Brandon Marshall, for 1 more season.

    A revamped O/L would probably have benefited from a veteran running back that can bang between the guards; another trick Bush hasn’t managed to do in the last five years. Don’t get me wrong; I know that we are Superbowl bound but just think about the fact that Drew Breese finessed Bush out of New Orleans and got them to Hire Darrin Sproles! It’s just a thought!!

  26. Do you think Ngata, Lewis (HOF), Reed (HOF), Suggs, Cody, JJ, McClain, Kindle or Pollard give a crap about Mendenhall? Wait no is the answer, because Ray Lewis shattered his collarbone the first time he tried dancing up the middle………

  27. OK, addendum to my own post…


    As a Ravens season ticketholder, I think I’m gonna go lite up a fat boy and celebrate! Where’s Jared Gaither, and is he flammable!!

  28. Solid signing. It’s shaping up to be a two team division once again despite the whines of some Pittsburgh players that this isn’t a rivalry. Ravens clearly are back to a defense heavy and smashmouth running team mentality that had become their trademark prior to last year. Didn’t always work against free throwing quarterbacks (especially Peyton), but a lot of teams used to hate to face them because of the risk of casualties. The Steelers – Ravens matchups this year are again going to be the most entertaining games of the year.

  29. I really don’t like the Ravens, who are the local team, but with Ricky there, I might not root against them as loudly anymore.

  30. While I am ragging on the Dolphins, I like to say that letting Coach Daboll install his new playbook right away doesn’t make lots of sense. We have a truncated personnel acquisition period and a compressed preseason camp. Maybe we should have reviewed the old plays and just thrown out the bad ones. We could have replaced the bad ones with some of the new offensive genius’s plays. Plays that might help a smurf like Reggie Bush survive! Slants, counters and screens that might give our fragile running back a little edge over those big nasty Defensive Front guys!

    Most of the plays I mention have pass plays that can be substituted from the slot, as a fake or as a draw. TOO much to learn for too many too soon! Chalk another coaching error up to Sporano!

  31. Why do people doubt Ozzie? Silly, so silly.

    You know, I would love to be a fly on the wall when Ray Lewis and Ricky Williams are sitting around shooting the breeze. And I mean that with total respect. They are two interesting thinkers.

  32. Let’s see, Derrick Mason, Todd Heap, Willis McGahee, Kelly Gregg.. others. Replacement Ricky Williams. Let’s see how good Flake-o looks with even less weapons. Ravens fans spin it any way you want, this team has taken SEVERAL steps backward. This will be very apparent to you all here in the next month.

  33. I see 6ringofsteel has already changed his name to 6ringnationsparksjealousy.

    In case any of you haven’t figured it out yet, 6ringofsteel (or whatever) is not Steelers fan, but rather some deranged, attention seeking troll.

    In an earlier thread today he was rambling about the superiority of the Steelers safeties, when as any real Steelers fan knows, our safeties suck…

  34. @neemdaddy13

    Derrick Mason: just another possession receiver on a team with a bunch of possession receivers. we’ve got two young guys with lots of potential to replace him.

    Todd Heap: this one hurts the most, but we’ve still got two young guys with lots of potential to replace him.

    Willis McGahee: who cares? now we’ve got Ricky Williams, a better back for less money.

    Kelly Gregg: Mount Cody was starting more by the end of last season and showed lots of potential.

    We just got rid of old guys so some young guys can get their chance. there is still plenty of talent on this team and more diversity on this team than last year. we’ll be a better team and accomplish more. next man up. so shut up and watch Flacco lead this team to a Super Bowl.

  35. Hey man have you ever rushed for 1,000 yards? Have you ever rushed for 1,000 yards on Weeeed?

  36. I frickin’ love Ricky Williams.

    What happened to 2011 being his last year?

    Definitely could have been one of the greatest running backs (statistically) in NFL history.

  37. Always good to keep the characters of the league employed, they keep it from getting stale.

  38. @plundergrunge – this is actually a shrewd move by Ricky. He will be a vulture punching in lots of easy goalline TDs behind Leach after Rice does all the hard work. This will pad his stats nicely the next two years and THEN he can retire one of the greatest running backs (statistically) in NFL history. This is his ace in the hole.

  39. As a Dolphins fan, I’m sad to see him leave Miami but anxious to see what he can do with a new team. I think both Ricky & Miami needed a change. Ricky’s always been interesting & entertaining to watch and as a fan I’d like to see him add a Lombardi trophy to his Heisman.

    I’ve been anxiously following the post lockout news and though he might be forced into retirement and among all the articles I discovered that he’s making another movie, here’s a link if anyone’s interested. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/usof/the-truth-cabin

  40. The Eagles are called the DREAM TEAM because the only time they’ll ever win a Super Bowl is while they’re dreaming.

  41. As a dolphin fan I am truly upset they didn’t bring Ricky back!! Consider yourselves blessed Baltimore u got one hell of a RB and to say he’s a pot head all that is behind him now at least till he retires lol but truly a great person and player!!!

  42. Ravens fan here. Ricky Williams? Really? What is he? 103?

    We need OL help, not an aging RB that several expert commentators on here say he still has something left in the tank. We also need WR help more than this.

    I love my Ravens, but unless alot of young, untested talent plays at least well this year, we will be in the trend of playoff teams that fail to make the playoffs.

    I have been an Ozzie defender, but this year I feel terrible about. I sure hope I am wrong. In the dumps here!

  43. wow did the phins blow it at RB….

    all I know is last season CB’s were afraid to take on Ricky alone when he was BLOCKING….. at 33 years of age….

    good move Ravens…. I’m gonna watch every game.

  44. @bunkmcnulty …

    I think you’re wrong. Williams was a nice get. The person to watch is Cameron and his affect on Flacco. I think your mistake was getting rid of Zorn.

  45. I think i saw a Steelers fan say their “Saefties” suck ??? PErhaps you ment Clark sucks. Cuz Last time i checked Troy was the best player on the Steelers.

    Anywho good signing. Alot like his former partners in philly, Ricky will make for a great back up in Raven town. He is used to splitting carries so he won’t make noise about not getting the ball and i think he is just in it to win at this point same as Ronnie. If nothing else Ricky still has a nose for the endzone and can save Rice from the tough carries at the goal line.

    And to the moron who thinks its a “burn” to tell people not to say we about a team they route for, Your a moron. Its just fine to say WE about a team you route for. As you are apart of that team. If not for the fans there is NO team. Besides since a lot fans with local teams paid for their stadiums i think we have earned that right (i know PA folks paid for both the Steelers and Eagles stadiums. So i do consider it WE. Heck i hate the steelers and i consider them WE cuz i helped pay for that stadium as well)

  46. tyler200829 says: the steelers lost to the packers last year right? just keep riding on luck………and the referees of course anyone in the NFL will tell you Pittsburgh gets all of the calls.

    Your statement doesn’t make sense. First you bring up our loss to the Packers, but then you mention the only reason we win is because we get all the calls from the refs.

    If we really get all the calls from the refs, then we would have won the SB. Maybe you meant to write “get most of the calls”?

  47. Hey sixrrings, just in case you forgot, the packers own YOU. And this is a saints fan speaking. Here’s looking forwardto another fun halloween

  48. No because they can’t always win you a game, as you saw in the SB. Dont get me wrong the steelers are a great team, but theyre very lucky and often get very timely questionable calls that others dont

  49. Deb,

    Maybe Williams is ok, but I am very nervous going into week 1, with our O-line and untested WR and TE. I hope I am wrong, but they will need to step up.

    I think we had larger needs than Ricky Chong as a backup RB. And our GM keeps losing potential targets to fill holes.

    BTW, I would feel the same way if we were playing Buffalo week 1, let alone you guys.

  50. The Ravens like to pick up former first round draft picks with issues. They run them till they have nothing left to give, then drop them on their a-s without notice.

  51. @bunkmcnulty –
    See the prior article talking about the overload of defensive linesmen the Pats are carrying as an example that there are lots of teams who will have to unload lots of journeymen veterans at every position to get down to their ultimate 53 man roster. Lots of good players won’t make these teams. That means there will be plenty of solidrole-players out there. The free agents making splashes now are the stars, but in a couple of weeks you will see plenty of perfectly serviceable guys get their walking papers and be in need of a job, usually a one year stint at veterans minimum salary. If you have an existing core to build around, which teams like the Ravens do, you will be fine filling a couple of roster holes with these guys. If you have to build an entire team from these guys (like teams like Cincinnati seem to be setting themselves up to do), then you join the low draft pick sweepstakes and better “Luck” next year. At any rate, I think most teams would be thrilled if their only glaring weaknesses at this point were that they don’t have a backup quarterback, their center will be out for a month, and their only proven receiver is Boldin. DC, Miami and Cincinnati all seem to be starting the season with concerns at starting QB, so that should put Baltimore concerns into perspective.

  52. If ever a player fit a team perfectly, it’s Rikcy with the Ravens. I’m sure he won’t be there for more than a year or two but they are going to love the way he runs.

  53. @bunkmcnulty …

    I know what you’re saying because the Steelers keep bringing in wideouts–which is fine–but our real need is corner, o-line, and depth at safety. As I read the signings without seeing any movement from us in those areas, I want to scream. But Colbert, like Ozzie, has consistently put solid talent on the field. Our teams have routinely been in the hunt. And as jo3jo said, a lot of teams are going to have to cut good players in the next couple of weeks. Both teams should be able to fill holes for considerably less money by picking up lesser names. And with us, I suspect they’re expecting big things out of some younger players. That may be the case with your guys, too.

    Also think you’re selling Williams short. He’s a strong, savvy runner and in very good shape despite the years. He’s a health guru who works on taking care of his body/mind/spirit. He’s come a long way from his early days in the league. I think he’ll fit in well with your veteran guys like Ray and Ed.

  54. I think he’s going to run wild. From what I understand he is taking incredible care of his body and is focused on being a beast again. Thank God we in Cleveland didn’t go after him… by the way… I don’t think we went after anyone.

  55. Jo3Jo,

    I hope you’re right. I just see a situation developing where Bouldin gets doubled, and the other inexperienced guys miss reads and routes and don’t get open. Same thing on the line. Who is our RT? Cousins? Reid? I hear ya on the Center. But we were obviously concerned enough (as an organization) to try to bring back Rabach. We go with Mattison?

    The CB situation is not ideal either, but I had no desire for NNamdi or Joseph. Need better depth there too.

    You have to admit sitting back and feeling secure about things is not easy. And I agree as cuts happen we will secure additional talent. But then you have a very short window to learn our schemes and playbook. That does not bode well for week 1 impact (like last year with Josh Wilson).

    Now I can always take the view, that everybody was picking us for the SB last year. I’d rather be under the radar for sure. Feeling nervous about this stuff.

  56. Deb,

    Pretty funny when a Steelers fan is talking me off the ledge.

    That is making me laugh! Thanks for being there!

  57. Finally, the Ravens make a move to prove Ozzie Newsome is still alive.

    Seriously, why have these guys been sleeping while all their key roll players left town?

  58. Interesting that Ricky did better in free agency than Ronnie, just another example of how clueless our regime is!

  59. Ricky broke my heart. Twice. He could have been the best ever and a first vote HOFer.

    All in all, I loved Ricky as a phin. He has been better than Ronnie since they drafted Ronnie. There were games last year where Ricky was clearly more effective. But the genius OC alternated RBs and never rode the hot hand.

    He is still solid getting outside, running inside, and on screens. He’s a guy that has deceptive speed. No one catches him if he gets a little separation.

    Anyone remember the 2009 Panthers game in primetime after Ronnie got hurt? They had like 3 reserve lineman in and Ricky dominated the game with screens and big runs.

    The bad news? Don’t overuse him. He is a gamer but wears down after 3 games of heavy use now.

  60. @bunkmcnulty …

    Anytime 🙂 I just enjoy intelligent football talk for a change … so many of the commenters on our threads are just there to throw junior-high smacktalk.

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