Ricky talks to NFL
Ex-tailback asks to be reinstated in drug program
By Sarah Talalay
May 26 2005
WASHINGTON ? In another sign he intends to return to the NFL, running back Ricky Williams, who retired last summer after failing a third drug test, has requested to be reinstated in the league's drug-testing program, a source said.
The program would be a requirement of Williams' reinstatement and includes being subject to as many as 10 tests a month. Participants have to inform program administrators if they plan to leave town, because players can be contacted about tests taking place within hours.
Last week, Dolphins coach Nick Saban said he had spoken with Williams, whom he described as "very, very interested in coming back." A day later, agent Leigh Steinberg also said Williams "has expressed a desire, excitement and resolve to play football for the Dolphins this season."
If Williams returns before July 28 -- the year anniversary of his retirement -- he would be subject to a one-year suspension under the NFL's substance-abuse policy. After then, he faces a four-game suspension and must undergo the league's stringent testing program.
After the NFL owners' meeting concluded Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said Williams is free to return as long as he meets the league's requirements.
"I think he's going to have to live with the policies we have in place that we have collectively bargained," Tagliabue said. "He's got to make some decisions about what he wants to do."
It's unclear whether the Dolphins would keep Williams on the roster or trade him.
Even the Dolphins' greatest player, retired quarterback Dan Marino, weighed in on Williams this week: "People make mistakes all the time," Marino said. "You can't condemn him for life."