First making his debut in college football as a star, then making a splash as a controversial player for the Miami Dolphin’s, the career of Ricky Williams has been an interesting one. From incredible highs to disillusionment and lows, Williams has been an image for every side of pro football. But he has not been terribly present in recent years. Here, we take a look at what Ricky Williams is up to now in 2017.
Early Life and Longhorns Years
Born to teenage parents as one of two twins, one would think that Ricky William’s start would have been harsh at the beginning in San Diego, California. Luckily, according to most reports his family life was remarkably stable and middle class life until around the age of 5, where in 1983, his parents separated and he would take on much of the burden of caring for his twin sister as well as his younger one. Soon after this, three key qualities would be discovered about him. The first was that, despite later years of lower than average academic performance, he was exceptionally bright as a child. This would be hampered however, as likely due to the split up of his parents anger issues would come to be a distraction until the third discovery was made: his adeptness at using Football to counteract that anger, and later his skill even without it.
By the 8th grade, when Williams began applying himself, he would quickly launch himself into an academic all-star as well as a key asset for his schools football team. This would continue in his high school career, where he would make 55 touchdowns and rush over 4,000 yards. As an entertaining aside, Williams also wrestled in high school, and ended up losing to another future NFL player (and also 3 time Super Bowl winner) Stephen Neal. Also a bit of interesting trivia is that Williams had also been a lifetime baseball lover, making it to a draft right out of high school and being picked up for the Philadelphia Phillies minor league team. He’d play as an outfielder and was often praised for his agility. He nearly entered into the MLB with the Texas Rangers (after being traded by the Montreal Expos), but instead decided to focus on an NFL Career.
Before he was able to get into the NFL, he needed to attend college, which he did on Athletic Scholarship, picking the University of Texas. From 1995 to 1998, Williams would outdo himself year over year, going on to hold at one time 20 NCAA records, including that of career rushing record during a game with the school’s long time rival, Texas A&M. This incredible series of performances would net him a chance to go to the NFL draft, where his career would really start taking off.
Miami, Marijuana and Canada
Even before Ricky Williams’ NFL career started, things got pretty interesting. During his college career, his performances would catch the eye of Mike Ditka, who at the time was working with the New Orleans Saints. To ensure that Ditka would get Williams, he ended up trading all his picks to move up in the draft (trading with the Washington Redskins) to ensure that he got Williams as a 5th overall pick. This would grab the attention of ESPN Magazine, who would ask both if they would appear on the cover as bride and groom. Ditka agreed, on the stipulation he was not the wife. It’s quite clear that Ricky had no such qualms, and the photographer Greg Heisler later commented it was one of his favorite shoots. It wasn’t so much a honeymoon after though, as Ricky only got around an $8 million contract, which by all accounts should have been higher at base level and had more attainable bonuses. Ditka would also end up being fired by the end of the same season. Williams would stay on for another 2 seasons, rushing for at least 1,000 yards each time.
In 2002, he was traded over to the Miami Dolphins, where he’d get over 1,800 rushing yards and become the NFL’s leading player in terms of rushing, making it to the Pro Bowl. It was during this time that Ricky would be called out on an interesting feature for an NFL player to have: Shyness. Later diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder, Williams would often not take off his helmet during interviews and came off often as a loner in the locker room. During this time he would also turn to holistic medicine to take care of old injuries as well as the anxiety, but this may have proved to injure him more. In late 2003, Williams tested positive for marijuana use and was fined, and suspended from multiple games (a much harsher punishment than the warning he had received when he tested positive after being transferred to the Dolphins). By July 2004, he announced an early retirement from football, and enrolled into California College of Ayuvrveda (a cultural medical practice which interested him since a vacation to India).
By July of 2005, he would announce his return to the Dolphins, paid the needed fine of over half a million dollars and sat out the 4 games he was sentenced to be suspended from. He would complete another season, but in February of 2006, fans would be disappointed in yet another positive drug test. While this would be disputed by close friends and family (claiming the false positive was a result of a holistic medication), he would be suspended for the remainder of 2006.
During his suspension, Williams was able to find gainful employment outside of the NFL, mostly by way of the Canadian Football League who didn’t carry any real substance regulations. This did not mean however that Ricky’s allowance to join the Toronto Argonauts was without controversy. Namely, the then quarterback for the team, Joe Theismann would let his opinion be known that he had no intent on working with an “addict” and “loser”. The owners of the Toronto Argonauts would reply by mentioning that Theismann’s son apparently had a drug charge levied against him, and that not only did he have no place to speak, but perhaps consideration of his son’s situation and feelings were needed. Williams would be the highest paid running back of the year with a contract worth roughly $338,000. He would certainly earn his keep despite a broken arm and torn Achilles tendon, and mentioned in the future he would enjoy playing, living and even coaching in Toronto again some day. He also thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity he had while working for the CFL of also being a local yoga instructor in Toronto.
Upon his return to the NFL, things were almost immediately rocky. Being monitored by nearly weekly drug tests, it was clear Ricky Williams was on a short leash before his first returning Monday Night Football game. Sadly, this would also be the last of his season, as the foot of a linebacker would land upon him and tear a pectoral muscle. He would come back in 2008 with 659 rushing yards and scoring 4 touchdowns, making him a valuable asset for the Dolphins. The next season (keep in mind Williams was 32 by this time), he would have another 1,000 yard rushing season, breaking the record for the longest gap between 1,000 yard seasons of 6 years. Williams would be signed to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, and would be the 26th player in the history of the game to make it past the 10,000 yard rushing mark. By the following year, he would permanently bow out of the NFL, with one of the most storied careers of any football player.
What’s Ricky Williams Doing Now in 2017- Recent Updates
Since his retirement from the NFL, Williams has had a bit of an interesting time. In 2014, it was revealed that the NFL Network would profile him in the “A Football Life”, which shows a wonderful side of his story. Ricky would also take his retirement to do a bit of coaching of multiple teams, and show up on nearly every football talk radio station at least once as a guest. Outside of football, Williams has become an advocate for medical marijuana and also revealed that he has been a vegan for quite some time, which is a fact that PETA has repeatedly celebrated.
2017 has been a bit of a rough year for Ricky, though. Recently, on his way to the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award ceremony (which celebrates outstanding Division I play) in Tyler, Texas, an incident would occur. Arriving quite a bit early for the ceremony, Williams decided to take a walk, and it appears that a citizen of the city reported to the police that a “suspicious person” was about, causing Williams to be temporarily detained which ended up being quite a controversy for the city, leading to the Mayor apologizing and offering his houses guest room to Williams should he ever decide to visit again. For his part, Williams wished to bring attention to the fact that despite doing nothing wrong, this was not the first time he was detained for what is colloquially known as “walking while black” in Texas. After this incident, he would go on to speak as a guest at the World Medical Cannabis Conference as an accomplished alternative healer. As for right now, it appears Williams is continuing both his alternative health practices and coaching, which may bring him to the spotlight again in the future.